We are raising money for our R&D production of Portia's Julius Caesar by Kaitlyn Riordan, adapted from William Shakespeare.
As Caesar reaches ambitiously for more power, Brutus, Cassius and a band of conspirators plot to stop him – by bloody means. In this radical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Kaitlyn Riordan refocuses the classic political thriller on the women of Rome. Portia, Brutus’ wife, tries to keep the peace in Rome, all while protecting her best friend Calpurnia, her new son and the democracy she believes in. This play deals with themes of fertility, loyalty and the price we pay for our beliefs.
‘Portia’s Julius Caesar’ is a Canadian adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy. Kaitlyn Riordan has woven together text from 17 Shakespeare plays, four sonnets, a poem and her own writing to bring forward the women traditionally in the background of this story. As a theatre company led by a Canadian director and a producer from Stratford-upon-Avon, this play is a marriage between the mandate of our theatre company and where we are positioned geographically, and the way the show has been composed mimics Shakespeare’s own practice of reusing and recycling work as well as collaborating with other.
In a patriarchal society, where influential men are grasping for power, our current time echoes those of Caesar’s. Our society appears to be on the brink of falling into chaos, and we have seen how quickly things can descend into madness, with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine not appearing to show any signs of stopping, North Korea’s increasing nuclear weapons and long-range missile testing programs, Donald Trumps attempts at re-election following his possible involvement in the attempted insurrection on January 6th 2021, and the UK’s political instability. Alongside this there has also been an attempt in the US to erode the rights of women to bodily autonomy following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the LGBTQ+ erasure in US classrooms, and Westminster’s blocking of the Scottish Parliament’s changes to the Gender Recognition bill that would make it easier for people to be recognised as the gender they are rather than the one they were assigned at birth. In all of this, what we fight for is hope.
We could have chosen to present a modern day interpretation of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ but with Riordan’s reframing of the events, we focus on what we are fighting for and not what we are fighting against.
Little Lion theatre company
We are a Canadian theatre company based in London, England dedicated to sharing stories and theatrical work from our home country with audiences in the UK. We work with actors and theatre makers from around the world.
The company was founded by East 15 Alumni in 2017 with their production of One More Time, produced by Alice Greening and presented as part of Goldsmiths' Take Note Festival at the Tristan Bates Theatre. Since then, the company has produced several Canadian classics in London, such as Tuesdays & Sundays at Theatre N16, The Drowning Girls at Hen and Chickens Theatre, and Mustard at the Drayton Arms Theatre.
Our post recent production, ‘Yaga’ by Kat Sandler received Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant funding for our three week run at the Drayton Arms Theatre in November 2023, where we are a resident company. We have established a New Play series where we take new writing from Canadian writers and pair them with a UK-based director and acting team for either a curated scratch night performance of shorter plays and excerpts, and rehearsed readings of longer/full length plays. We have just launched our new play reading club, a monthly meeting where London-based theatre makers can meet up to read and discuss the new writing we have been offered through our ongoing new writing play submissions, to provide feedback to writers.
As a female-led company, we also do what we can to amplify women’s voices, staging feminist work and this next project is a retelling of a classic through the lens of the women in the story.
Having grown from the global community that is cultivated at East 15 Acting School, Little Lion Theatre Company have frequently worked with alumni and students from the Directing and Acting programmes. In our acting company past collaborators have come from the World Theatre, International Acting, Acting MA, Physical Theatre, and Stage Combat programmes.
This show is the first time we will be touring and making work outside London. We want to bring this play to communities outside of the capital that are hungry for theatre. Portia’s Julius Caesar is a creative take on a play from the theatrical canon that puts women in the forefront of a narrative usually dominated by men. We want to develop this play to have in our touring repertoire by bringing it to specific demographics of audiences. We are taking our production to a mixture of community centres, theatre spaces and an outdoor location to test out the transferability of the show. We are interested in bringing this play to schools to show Shakespeare’s work in a different light and highlight the experiences of women in this world. It’s a play that shows young people the potential for creativity and playfulness in Shakespeare’s work that they don’t get to experience all the time when studying. Riordan has woven together text from 17 Shakespeare plays, four sonnets, a poem and her own writing to bring forward the women traditionally in the background of this story. As a theatre company led by a Canadian director and a producer from Stratford-upon-Avon, this play is a marriage between the mandate of our theatre company and where we are positioned geographically, and the way the show has been composed mimics Shakespeare’s own practice of reusing and recycling work as well as collaborating with other.
This R&D will be focused on developing a 90 minute adaptation of the show with the playwright. We have two performance dates to show the work this summer, one of them being an outdoor performance at The Dell in Stratford-Upon-Avon for their outdoor summer series curated by the The Royal Shakespeare Company. Little Lion is hoping for Portia's Julius Caesar to become a permanent part of our company's repertoire that we can tour across the UK due to the play's perfect blend of Canadian and feminist theatre.
Where will the money go?
The funds raised from our Click Campaign will all go towards production costs, such as rehearsal space, props and costumes and to help cover time and travel costs for the artists involved with the project.
We are hoping to make around £1000 to cover these costs. Production costs, such as rehearsal space, venues rentals and props and costume are a huge cost to independent companies, so if we are able to cover that, then we will be able to achieve this R&D projects financial demands. If there is any money left over, we will be using it as an honorarium for the artists involved.
Our £500 minimum target will help us cover the majority of our transportation fees, which is the bulk of the expenses we're incurring for this project. We will be able to carry out this project if all we reach is the minimum. We are doing a pwyc performance in Hythe as an invited dress rehearsal to help raise funds for The Dell. This will hopefully help cover the extra costs if we aren't able to achieve our target fund-raising goal.
However, our dream budget breakdown looks a bit like this:
Transportation to Hythe (our invited dress rehearsal) and Stratford-upon-Avon: £600
Set and Props £100
Zoom License £12.00
Extra Rehearsal Space £112.00
£5 - Thank you on our social media!
£10 - Thank you on our social media and your name/company listed on our website
£15 - as above + a Little Lion badge
£30 - as above + 'behind the scenes' rehearsal photos
£50 - as above + signed poster from a past production
£100 - as above + a Little Lion tote bag
£200 - as above + zoom meet and greet with the creative team and company
Find us here
You can follow us on social media on Facebook and Instagram! Also check out our website for more info on the company and the amazing artists we work with!
Help us succeed!
Little Lion Theatre Company is not just a theatre company, but a community of global artists. We take pride in the creative dialogue we are able to have as a part of an international community of theatre makers and Portia's Julius Caesar is a perfect example of this mandate.
Any donation is greatly appreciated by the team, but you don’t have to give us money to help us succeed! Share this campaign with family, friends, colleagues-every little bit helps! Follow us on social media for updates on the project and on future events for the company too! Please sponsor us and help make Portia's Julius Caesar happen!