"Shakespeare expands our minds and our hearts like no other playwright can. He tells the best stories with the most incredible language. Seeing a good Shakespeare production makes us more alive.
I'm excited to see that 1623 are bringing these incredible plays and new work based on them to new audiences in new spaces. Go and see them."
: Mark Ravenhill
Internationally acclaimed playwright Mark Ravenhill was educated at Bristol University where he studied English and Drama, and worked for the Soho Poly in London. His first piece, a ten-minute dialogue called Fist, was staged at London's Finborough pub theatre venue. Max Stafford-Clark, director of Out of Joint Theatre Company, saw the production and invited Ravenhill to contribute a full-length play. This became Shopping and Fucking, produced by Out Of Joint and staged at the Royal Court Theatre, London, where it opened in September 1996.
His next play, Faust Is Dead, was produced by the Actor's Touring Company and toured nationally in 1997. It was followed by Handbag in 1998, which won an Evening Standard award, and Some Explicit Polaroids, which opened at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, in November 1999. In 1998, while literary director of Paines Plough, a company started in 1974 to develop new writing, he organised 'Sleeping Around', a collaborative writing project.
His radio play Feed Me was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 2000. Mother Clap's Molly House, set in 18th-century London, was first performed in 2001 at the National's Lyttleton Theatre with music by Matthew Scott. Totally Over You (2004) is a play that explores the world of instant celebrity. In 2006, four further plays were published: The Cut; Product; Citizenship; and pool (no water). The following year, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat was performed at the Edinburgh Festival.
More recent works include Over There (Royal Court / Schaubühne, Berlin, 2009), A Life in Three Acts co-written and performed with Bette Bourne (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh / Konninklijke Schouwburg, The Hague / Soho Theatre, London, 2009 and St Ann’s Warehouse, New York, 2010), Nation adapted from the Terry Pratchett novel (National Theatre, 2009), Ghost Story and Intolerance (Riverside Studios, 2010), The Exclusion Zone (Southwark Playhouse, 2010), a new libretto translation of Monteverdi's opera The Coronation of Poppea (King's Head Theatre, 2011) and the libretto of Ten Plagues, a new opera with music by Marc Almond (Edinburgh Festival, 2011).
In September 2010, he was appointed Associate Director of the Little Opera House at The King's Head Theatre in London. He played an active role in the venue's relaunch as London's third Opera House along with patron Sir Jonathan Miller, Robin Norton-Hale and Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher.
Mark was recently writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He writes regularly for the Guardian and contributes to BBC arts programmes including The Review Show (BBC2) and Front Row (Radio 4).