August 19 – September 24 · Howard Family Stage

When three Goblins come across a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, they’re intrigued by a writer who clearly knows his witches, faeries, goblins and monsters. They decide to co-opt a theatre space and cajole an audience into participating in their first attempt at “doing theatre”. They choose Macbeth because it’s short…and has lots of blood! Get set for a unique theatre experience with this joyfully interactive production.

Shakespeare goblins veer from inspired lunacy to riveting command of the language. Unpredictable, unrestrained and uninhibited, Goblin: Macbeth is the stage equivalent of a theme park funhouse ride.” The Calgary Herald

…absolutely brilliant. A perfect mix of high-quality, precision Shakespeare, ingenious creativity, and cleverly crafted humour.” Calgary theatre patron

Originally produced by The Shakespeare Company and Hit and Myth Productions in Calgary. A Spontaneous Theatre creation by Rebecca Northan, with Bruce Horak. Original music by Ellis Lalonde.

Season and production run dates subject to change.

Content Advisory: Offstage murder, strong language, non-toxic haze, strobe effects, adult content, violence, not recommended for individuals under the age of 12

Production run time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Production Sponsor


Photo Credit: The GoblinsPhoto: Terry Manzo, Image Design: Emily Cooper


Director's Notes

There are certain Shakespeare plays which seem to provoke an immediate question when revealed as part of a theatre’s season announcement. Hamlet, Richard III, King Lear and Macbeth are immediately met with, “Who’s playing ‘X’?”, as though the potential of the production might be pre-judged by the casting of the lead role.

What if we didn’t know who was playing Macbeth? Or what human was inhabiting any role, for that matter? If we could effectively remove, conceal, or obscure the persona of the actor, could we shift the spotlight from player back to text?

The idea of Goblins doing Shakespeare seemed obvious to me. I have a profound love of words, as well as a background in mask work, improvisation and misbehaviour. The older I get, the weirder I like my theatre. As the notion for Goblin:Macbeth was gestating, I began making discreet inquiries with artist-friends. I was consistently met with one of two strong reactions:

So, you mean I would play Macbeth, but ideally no one in the audience would ever know it was me playing the part? – NO THANK YOU.”
So, you mean I would play Macbeth, but ideally no one in the audience would ever know it was me playing the part? SIGN ME UP!

Discussions with the latter group revealed a strong desire for anonymity that inspires a total freedom to disappear inside a character, and to explore Shakespeare’s text without the pressure of being evaluated in advance. In rehearsals we found a new permission to play, question and explore with a loving irreverence. It gave us a new appreciation for Shakespeare’s work.

The Goblins come to the text with curiosity, but no preconceived notions. To them, Macbeth is not Shakespeare’s
most unsettling and cursed play – they already come from a world where fairies, ghosts, witches and magic are pedestrian.

Our Goblins are able to push past all that phantasmagoria to highlight a humour that is so often glossed over in human productions that favour a macabre atmosphere. Our Goblins reveal that to pair tragedy with humour, as Shakespeare intended, is a profoundly human impulse that highlights the horror, while allowing us to bear it.

In closing: I actively discourage you from seeking out the identity of our players. Let the Goblins work their magic on you; let the play hit you in new ways. And if it’s your first time seeing Macbeth, then our apologies – it’s all downhill from here.

Rebecca Northan, Director

"In a Nutshell" Talk

Please note there is no live on-site In a Nutshell talk prior to each Goblin:Macbeth performance. Bard on the Beach’s Director of Education has prepared one that is available to listen to (~5 minutes) or read (675 words) at one’s leisure.

Listen to or Read the Goblin:Macbeth In a Nutshell talk