Updated: Mar 23, 2020

23RD MARCH 2020

44% - #MondayMarotte

Morning everyone,

Our campaign has hit 44%. We've got 17 days left to get to the target so any help its hugely appreciated, even £1 will go a long way! 

If you are unable to or you have already financially supported, sharing these updates will help us reach more people who can help.


A Fool's equipment would include a 'fake' sceptre, known as a Marotte. The Marotte would usually have a carved head and tassels, often mimicking the look of its owner. Marottes are believed to have been used as a prop to ridicule those in power. Some historians suggest it was even used to defend the jester's master!

Shakespeare's Fool will feature a custom made Marotte, that will form an integral part in the play. But we don't want to give too much away at this stage.

Thank you to everyone who's supported so far!

Stay safe.

Shakespeare's Fool Team

19TH MARCH 2020


Morning 'Fools',

We hope all is well, and you're keeping safe.

The campaign has hit 38% of its target! Thank you so much for your continued support and all of your shares, likes, retweets and kind comments.

We're still working hard on our preproduction stage. What does preproduction mean?

Preproduction is a hectic time for a show. We are busy with publicity artwork, dealing with venues, redrafting of scripts, design and creation of costume and props, contracting, and scheduling. All of this has to happen before we even think about going into rehearsals. Preproduction is often a busier period for a show than the production phase. That's why fundraising now is so important.


William Kempe was initially a member of the Earl of Leicester's Men. Leicester's Men performed for Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle, and she often visited on account of the Earl being a particular favourite of hers. When she did, all the clocks of the castle were stopped. No one was to be aware of the time during her visit, and the occasions and entertainments were lavish and grand. In Shakespeare's Fool, William Kempe recounts the first time he went to Kenilworth Castle and saw the Queen and Leicester's Men. It was a defining moment for him.

Kenilworth Castle as it stands today.

Many thanks to David McCallum for today's Fun Fact.

Tomorrow we'll be telling you about Marottes.

Much love to all,

Shakespeare's Fool Team

18TH MARCH 2020

37% THERE. 67% TO GO!

Hello everyone,

We haven't posted a project update for a couple of days. As I'm sure you're all aware, the situation for theatres, performers and creatives have never been as precarious as it is at the moment and with the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday evening we have gone through the hardest 48hrs that the industry has ever faced.

However, we are undetered. Crucial to the industry's survival is what we do now. We will continue to plan, create and drive projects forward so that when the lights come back on we hit the ground running, and we're ready to bring you entertainment, distractions, fun and the stories that need telling.

Fundraising for Shakespeare's Fool will continue, and I'd like to tell you what reaching the target will mean.

Once we reach the target, we have committed to paying the following people immediately.

Costume Designer

Prop Maker


Production Assistant

That's four creatives that we will be paying for work upfront so that once the theatres reopen, we will be able to push forward with the show.

It has never been a more critical time to support the arts. Preproduction must continue.

Thank you all for your incredible support so far. We are just over 37% there. Please continue to share, like, retweet, and follow Shakespeare's Fool. It genuinely helps.

Stay safe, and we will continue with our FUN FACTS tomorrow.

Shakespeare's Fool Team

16TH MARCH 2020


Morning 'Fools',

We hope that you all had a fabulous weekend and that you’re keeping safe and well.

Brilliant news! Yesterday we went over our first £1000 which means we have reached 29% of our target. It’s a significant milestone, so thank you so much for your support. Our next goal is to get to 50% by the end of this week.


Hamlet’s speech to the players is said to be directed at William Kempe after their big falling out!

“Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise.”

Kempe was notorious for improvising, going off script and generally playing to the groundlings for laughs. This incensed Shakespeare, and it many believe that he and Kempe eventually fell out in a big way. Hamlet’s speech to the players is Shakespeare’s final ‘two fingers up’ to his former friend and colleague.

We appreciate that these are uncertain times for a lot of people. The arts are no exception. There has never been a more critical time to show your support for the arts. Please do share Shakespeare’s Fool with those you think might be interested in supporting. Every £1, share, retweet, and like counts.

Have a great week and stay safe.

Shakespeare’s Fool Team

14TH MARCH 2020


Morning all,

Having had a few questions about the coronavirus (CORVID-19) we thought we should tell people how this affects the Shakespeare’s Fool project.

At this point the Edinburgh Fringe 2020 is still many months away and the virus situation in the UK is predicted to peak towards the end of May. Edinburgh Fringe authorities have no intention of cancelling the event at this time and planning continues as normal. However, we have been told that in the extremely unlikely event of the Edinburgh Fringe being cancelled in 2020, those who have confirmed performances with the festival will automatically be transferred to the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe. Shakespeare’s Fool is a confirmed performance and therefore will be running, either in the 2020 Fringe, or the 2021 fringe. Either way, the project will be going ahead and your support still counts.

Of course, this is not the first time that sickness has threatened to close the playhouses. William Kempe himself was stopped from playing in London in the early 1590s by an outbreak of the plague and the theatres were all shut down. He continued to perform after they were re-opened, just as our William Kempe will do, over 400 years later!

We’re very close to the 25% marker and with your help we can make that happen this weekend. Please continue to share the project either online or by telling people about it and remember that we don’t get the funding unless we reach out target of £3500 by April 9th, 2020.

Every little helps, and a retweet, or a share can make a huge difference.

We will leave you with this quote, which seems rather apt at the moment.

“Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.” – Othello

Have a great Saturday.

Shakespeare’s Fool Team

13th MARCH 2020


Greetings 'Fool' Fans.

This morning we passed the 18% mark and yesterday welcomed our first international sponsors to our ranks. Everyone we talk to about the project is very excited by it and we think that it’s shaping up for a great life beyond the Edinburgh Fringe. Look out for your shout-outs today as part of #FridayFunders.

Rather than giving you a Fun Fact today, we would like to introduce to our Costume Designer, Hannah Marshall. Shakespeare’s Fool will feature a brand new, purpose made costume for the actor playing William Kempe and Hannah will not only be designing the very special costume, but she’ll also be making it. Hannah graduated from Wimbledon School of Art with a BA (Hons) in Theatre: Costume Design in 2008 and has been the Costume Designer and Supervisor with the Worcester Repertory Company since 2011. As well as her incredible work with the Worcester Rep, Hannah works as Costume Supervisor and Maker for a number of other companies including Birmingham Opera, Vamos Theatre, Birmingham REP, British Youth Opera and previously Garsington Opera and Watford Palace Theatre.

Fool’s costumes were fairly distinctive in the Elizabethan era. Actors wore a ragged or patchwork coat. Often, bells hung along the skirt and on the elbows. They wore closed breeches with tights, with each leg a different colour. Hannah has already started creating the costume and we’ll be delighted to bring you pictures of the finished article in due course. The picture below is a ‘teaser’ of some of the colours being used for the costume.

As it’s Friday we hope you all have a fabulous weekend and we’ll leave you with these wonderful words of wisdom from Bill the Bard.

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." - As You Like It

Shakespeare's Fool Team

12th MARCH 2020


Morning all,

Another great day on the campaign trail yesterday. Thank you all so very much for your support. Not just the financial support, but the sharing and getting the show ‘out-there’. It makes a massive difference to the project and to those of us working on it.

Yesterday, we crossed out 12% marker. This is great news. Yes, we’ve got another 88% to go, but we’re off to a great start.

FUN FACT – Fools were most popular amongst the Groundlings…and the Queen.

Elizabethan fools and clowns were often the most popular characters in plays. They appealed to all cross sections of society including, Queen Elizabeth herself. Her favourite fool was a chap called Dick Tarlton, who is considered the father of the modern comic. Dick Tarlton became a member of Queen Elizabeth’s Men and died as a member of the Royal Household. He was incredibly successful. William Kempe was seen very much as the successor of Tarlton and was once referred to as “vicegerent general to the ghost of Dick Tarlton.”

Comedy has never really lost its popularity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Prince or pauper; people love to laugh!!

Tomorrow, we’ll start to introduce you to our creative team and give you a sneak preview of some what’s going on behind the scenes.

Remember to keep sharing, pledging, sharing some more. Every little helps. Our goal is to reach 25% of our target by midnight on Sunday. If we can do that, we'll be heading for success!

All the best,

The Shakespeare's Fool Team

11th MARCH 2020


Hello All,  We'll we're up and running and the Kickstarter Campaign is now live. Thank you to all those who have already pledged. Day one was a good start, but we've still got a long way to go. They do say that crowdfunding is a marathon, not a sprint. I thought it would be a good idea to bring your regular updates as well as some interesting facts about the production and the star of the show himself, William Kempe.  FUN FACT - William Kempe once morris danced all the way from London to Norwich. In 1599 Kempe morris danced from the Lord Mayor of London to the Master Mayor of Norwich. That's over 100 miles of morris dancing, which he achieved in nine days. Admittedly this was spread out over a few weeks and many pit-stops at suitable taverns along the way. It was a great publicity stunt for him and he amassed a number of crowds over the course of his journey. Kempe kept a diary of his travels called Kempe's Nine Days Wonder, and dedicated the published version to Mistress Fitton, thought by many to be the 'Dark Lady', of William Shakespeare's sonnets. Could there have been a rivalry between the two? You'll have to see the play to find out.  Many thanks for your continued support. Remember, any donation is much appreciated. One-thousand donors giving a £1 each is far more use than ten donors giving £100 each - although don't let that stop you if you're feeling flush. ;-)  Please share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - it all helps.


The Swan Theatre, The Moors, Worcester, WR1 3ED

Tel: 01905 726969 ||| Email:


Sarah-Jane Morgan

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