Events and Opportunities

The Two Gentlemen of Verona title page from the Bodleian digital First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays

William Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Oxford Playhouse, May 15-18th (4th Week Trinity Term)

Book tickets via the Oxford Playhouse here!

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Gregory Doran

“Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no music in the Nightingale”

What happens when you fall in love with your best friend’s girlfriend?

This modern retelling follows Valentine, as he moves from his home in small town Verona, to the exciting city of Milan and falls in love with wealthy heiress Silvia. Meanwhile Valentine’s best friend Proteus, leaves behind his girlfriend Julia, and follows him to Milan. Things become complicated when Proteus becomes obsessed with Silvia.

A complex tale of passion and disguise unfolds as young adults navigate desire, consent, and the limits of friendship.

Directed by Gregory Doran and brought to life by Oxford University students.

Production funding and management details
The production is underwritten by the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professorship Fund and the Cameron Mackintosh Drama Fund and will receive executive production support from St Catherine’s College, the Oxford Playhouse and other University staff. The University Drama Officer is co-producing the show alongside a student Co-Producer selected by competitive application.


Previous events

Inaugural Lecture: “A Director’s Journey through the First Folio”
25 October 2023 (Wednesday, 3rd Week Michaelmas Term)
Blavatnik School of Government, Lecture Theatre 1
• Seating is limited, sign up here for the ballot.
• You will find details on the live stream here.

The Shakespeare Gym
4 November 2023
10:00 – 16:00, The Holywell Music Room

Greg Doran conducts a “Shakespeare Gym”, a regular part of his RSC process during rehearsal. The Gym is a means of limbering up your Shakespeare muscles and sharing vocabulary to explore the clues that Shakespeare wrote into the text to help the actor. A physical on-your-feet session, and a deep-dive into Shakespeare’s use of verse, prose, rhythm and rhetoric.

To sign up to attend, please click here. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

CW for play // Contains depictions of attempted sexual violence, some threats of
physical violence, capture and death, frequent misogynistic language, brief racist and anti-semitic language, live dog.

Greg Doran will direct a student-led production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona—the only remaining Shakespeare play he has yet to stage.

This represents an exciting chance to work directly with Greg Doran and there will be many opportunities for students to be involved. The opportunities will include open calls for cast and crew members, lectures and workshops.

Students will be at the creative centre of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, working closely with Greg Doran as Director. Key crew members will benefit from mentoring from professional technicians at the Oxford Playhouse, and all actors will benefit from being directed by a professional director of significant distinction.

Greg Doran says: “I am keen to develop this production collaboratively with the student team. Two Gents explores the challenges of young people setting out in the world – leaving home, trying to make their way, falling in love, making mistakes. As the students have that lived experience, it is vital that how the production looks and sounds and feels reflects that experience.”

These themes will be addressed and discussed in rehearsals with a professional
intimacy and fight coordinator present where appropriate, with a welfare
representative present, as well as follow-up support.

Two Gentlemen of Verona are opening first-round auditions via self tape!
Show dates/rehearsals: Trinity Term ‘24 Week 4: 15th – 18th May, with matinees on Thurs 16th and Sat 18th May. Rehearsals from mid Hilary term onwards, most likely including Week 9 of Hilary.

Play Vision and Key Aims: In the words of Doran, “Two Gents explores the challenges of young people setting out in the world – leaving home, trying to make their way, falling in love, making mistakes. As students have that lived experience, it is vital that how the production looks and sounds and feels reflects that experience.” This production will be set in the modern day, with plenty of opportunity for interpreting characters and design for this new context, and contemporising the issues presented in the original text. And yes, we will be hopefully having a live dog on stage.

Play Summary: The Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of the most rarely performed Shakespeare plays, and one of his earliest. In a comedic tale of friendship and love, Proteus and Valentine, two close friends, navigate the complexities of romance in the city of Verona. As they pursue their loves, Julia and Syilvia, the play unfolds with disguises, mistaken identities, and a lovable canine sidekick. With humour and wit, the play explores the ups and downs of relationships, emphasising the enduring bonds of friendship.


Please note: The full play-text of Two Gentlemen is open access and available
online, which you can access here. The finished script that this production will
use is currently being finalised.


About the Director: Gregory Doran is a leading theatre director. He was the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for ten years, from 2012 until 2022. The Two Gentlemen of Verona is the only Shakespeare he hasn’t directed – yet! He’s keen to develop this production collaboratively with the student team.

Auditions: The first round of auditions will take place via self-tape. Please submit one monologue – it may be one of the extracts from the play attached in the audition document, or any Shakespeare monologue of your choice. We are not casting the roles with specific gender, ethnicity or other character requirements, so choose a piece you feel best shows off your talents!

We encourage people from all backgrounds to audition, for any part, and are
committed to an equitable casting process. No previous experience of Shakespeare is necessary. We are excited to see talent from all parts of the Oxford student

The Google Drive below contains further character and casting information,
monologues you may choose to read, the OUDS audition guideline, and an equal
opportunities monitoring survey.

Please submit your tapes in the form below by 23:59 Monday 11th December to

Google Drive, including full roles and characters:

Submission form:

Any questions, please get in touch via Ava Smith, Co-Producer
/ Vicky Stone, Co-Producer
Looking forward to seeing your auditions!

Shakespeare’s Difficult Language
Professor Emma Smith in conversation with Sir Gregory Doran and Adjoa Andoh

Tuesday 20 February 2024, 5.30-6.45pm
Mary Sunley Lecture Theatre, St Catherine’s College

A conversation between current and former Cameron Mackintosh professors Sir Gregory Doran and Adjoa Andoh, chaired by Professor Emma Smith (Faculty of English). What should we do with those phrases, similes, and attitudes in Shakespeare plays that we now find difficult, uncomfortable, or derogatory? How does this relate to larger questions about Shakespeare’s role in current theatre repertories and in wider cultural conversations? Drawing on the preparation for the forthcoming Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oxford Playhouse) as well as on the experiences from two prominent careers at the forefront of classical theatre, we aim to explore the issues and involve those present in the conversation, rather than to provide a single answer.

Register here. This event is free and open to the public. Venue capacity is capped at 80 and spaces are allocated at the time of registration.

Sonnet Lunches with Sir Gregory Doran

Mary Sunley Lecture Theatre, St Catherine’s College

Friday 23 February, 1-2pm

Friday 1 March, 1-2pm

Friday 8 March, 1-2pm

Bring a packed lunch and come prepared to unpack Shakespeare’s sonnets with the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre. You can either just be an observer or roll up your sleeves and have a go in these hands-on workshops.

No registration needed, just come along.