“Let the forest judge” – A new Shakespearean odyssey imagined by one of Europe’s most prominent theatre directors, Calixto Bieito.

Commissioned as part of the World Shakespeare Festival 2012, Forests uses original verse from Shakespeare’s forest and heath scenes to take audiences on an odyssey from the calmness of paradise to the uncertainties of purgatory and finally into the flames of hell.

Starting in As You Like It‘s forest of Arden, stopping off in the moving trees of Macbeth‘s Birnam woods and finishing in the bare wilderness of King Lears cliffs of Dover, this new production will be a spellbinding, vivid and imaginative theatrical journey.

Bieito is no stranger to UK audiences having previously directed Hamlet and Celestina for The REP and Edinburgh International Festival and also Macbeth at the Barbican. His passionate and radical interpretations of classics have stimulated controversy and earned him critical acclaim.

With a great cast led by Catalan actors Josep Maria Pou, Roser Cami and English actor George Costigan.

View on The Space


“A visceral response to Shakespeare’s texts.”
Star Star Star Star
The Guardian

“With Tim Mitchell’s exquisite lighting, the performance achieves a spiritual, unnerving consistency from the Bard to Beckett, forged in the original and tremendous songs of Maika Makovski, a Gypsy rock guitarist who makes sour old Feste look like Val Doonican.”
Star Star Star Star
The Independent

“One comes away having shared a strange, oblique slant on Shakespeare’s preoccupation with mortality and – once again – relishing his language.”
The Stage

“George Costigan – such a capable actor, as they are all – delivers ‘All the World’s a Stage’ with mesmerising intelligence.”
The Telegraph

“A dream play. Entrancing.”
“There are so many speeches you hear again as if for the first time.”
“Beautifully lit by our own Tim Mitchell, with fantastic songs by gypsy rock troubadour Maika Makovski.”
What’s On Stage

“We are taken on a chilling, often violent and shocking journey through the psyche, all using Shakespeare’s words.”
“The minimalist set is haunting.”
The Public Reviews

“A sparse and starkly beautiful setting by Rebecca Ringst.”
“Extraordinary, extraordinarily powerful. Forests is a vast theatrical poem.”
“Highly unusual, highly emotional, not to everyone’s taste, but a unique experience.”

“Bieito has chosen his company well.”
“Gets my praise immediately. Any sensitive theatre-goer will no doubt welcome the serious implications it throws up in much beautifully worked out experimentation.”
Birmingham Post

“You do bring this play home with you”
The Birmingham Press

“Wonderfully Godotesque design.”
“An extraordinary evening which I would gladly watch again.”
Lichfield Live


Forests is part of the World Shakespeare Festival, which is produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company for London 2012 Festival.

Performed in Catalan and English with surtitles

Date Time Venue Notes Prices Booking

The Old Rep

  • Address: Station Street, (Nearest car park is on Dudley Street), Birmingham, B5 4DY
  • Box Office: 0121 236 4455
  • Phone: 0121 236 4455

Part of Access 2012

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