Our Story

our foolish beginnings...

In February 2015 Cumbrian brothers James and Stephen Hyde were thinking about Shakespeare and thinking about music when they were struck with an idea - they decided to combine the two and form their own travelling Shakespeare company, staging unique productions that use music to bring to life the bard’s remarkable stories. And so The Three Inch Fools were born!

The dream was to travel around the country as a motley troupe of players (much like they used to in Shakespeare’s day) going from town to village and everywhere in between performing his plays. That summer, we hit the road for the first time, visiting all sorts of places across Scotland and England, performing our musical take on Shakespeare, to audiences young and old alike. We took our musical instruments, props, costumes, and a bell-tent and set off on our first adventure. Much has happened since, and in this our third year, we have now truly found our feet. Through our own high-paced performance style and musical talents we would say we have found our own unique take on Shakespeare.

Stephen (the younger brother) writes the music for all of our productions - working with a lyricist who he never seems to get a response from - and James (the older brother) produces the tours, and together they direct the plays! With a talented cast of actor-musicians, we use a vast array of instruments (often played in unusual ways) to tell the story differently.

If you will allow us, we’d like to tell you a little bit more about what Shakespeare means to us…

We feel that you don't need to be a Shakespearean expert to discover just what a barrel of laughs the bard can be - and that his plays can speak to you directly about actual things that are happening in your life today. Shakespeare's plays were penned hundreds of years ago - using some of the most poetic and elaborate language ever written - but they are still as relevant and sidesplittingly entertaining today, crammed full of drama, melodrama and comedy - even unashamed crudeness in places!

But we don't just rely on a high shot of adrenaline to bring the nation's favourite playwright back to life! Music was always at the heart of Shakespeare’s shows. Back in Elizabethan times, plays were vibrant and lively, and always entertaining - and we think that music is most definitely the best way to capture an audience’s imagination, re-creating that same lively atmosphere. The Three Inch Fools present a re-imagined take on Shakespeare, weaving music into the story to enhance drama, convey emotion and give the play a new flavour!

The Three Inch Fools grew from a love of Shakespeare and his plays, so don't think we've thrown out the bard with the bathwater - but we want to show him off to everyone, and excite a whole new generation of Shakespeare lovers to get to know his plays in all their vibrancy. Come and see what we do - whatever your take on Shakespeare (whether you've never heard a word or read all his plays ten times) we promise to open your eyes!

Oh, and the name - it's a rather rude joke that crops up in a couple of his plays. What can we say? Shakespeare was a bit of a saucy knave sometimes…