Though this be madness yet there's method in't.

Ride on with us throughout the countryside,
With comedies and tragedies galore;
Four actors upon bikes are wont to ride,
With legs exhausted and with bottoms sore.
A journey thorough bush and thorough briar,
On a-roads, b-roads, cycle-paths we steer.
On pedalled steeds we stow all we require –
Set, props and costumes, scripts and camping gear.
Hey ho, the wind and rain may slow our ride,
Our chains may bear the whips and scorns of grime,
But this dry-witted, wet quartet provide
A stonking, bonkers, entertaining time.
So join this ped’ling Shakespeare troupe anon,
The HandleBards: ride on, dear friends, ride on.

The HandleBards began with a sense of adventure, a love of Shakespeare and a nifty little pun.. Since four fearless friends (Paul Moss, Callum Cheatle, Tom Dixon and Callum Brodie) pedalled Twelfth Night to twenty UK venues in 2013, we have grown to become an internationally renowned theatre company, bringing our uniquely irreverent brand of Shakespeare to audiences all over the globe.

Our shows have received critical acclaim from national press, regional press and audience members alike. The Stage called us “gloriously eccentric and very, very funny”. The Shields Gazette found us “chaotic, clever and charming”. And one young audience member confessed that we had “converted an 11 year old boy into a Shakespeare fan”.

We travel by bike because we care about the planet and we want to promote sustainability healthy living. In 2014, we won the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award. We were nominated again in 2015, and in 2016 we were nominated for the Stage’s inaugural Sustainability Award. Our take on Shakespeare is fast,, funny and fearless. If you’ve never seen Shakespeare before, there’s no better introduction. If you’re a Bard buff, you’ve never seen it done like this…

Our Current Shows

SOME THINGS WE CARE ABOUT

Adventures

We think that sleep can wait. We love to explore. We love to find the funny.

We’re very inquisitive souls, and we realise that we’re not going to learn anything from slopping about on the sofa. So instead we prefer to say “yes” and just go for it! It’s probably this mentality that’s lead to us cycling around the world to perform Shakespeare.

Shakespeare

This one’s pretty obvious. We wouldn’t be here without him.

He introduced 3000 new words to the English language, and we think his vocabulary ranged from between 17,000 to 23,000 words – that’s double the number of words used by the average conversationalist…

Bicycles

Duh. They get us from A to B. Who doesn’t love a good old bicycle?

The best news is that we’ve got better at using them over the years. It’s been only an upward curve from our very first cycle when we broke two wheels, a trailer attachment and our director’s coccyx.

The Environment

We’re incredibly proud of our environmental conscience.

Last year we saved 50.2 tonnes of CO2 by travelling by bike, and were rewarded when we won the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award. In 2017, we were also nominated for The Stage’s Sustainability Award.

We’ll continue doing everything we can to promote sustainability and a greener future, and hope that you’ll be inspired to do your part too. Why not cycle to one of our shows instead of driving?

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FRESH FROM THE HANDLEBARD BLOG

The HandleBards Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe / Reintegrating into Society

The 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe has begun, and our all-female HandleBards troupe are days away from joining the rest of the global theatre community in the Scottish capital. However, the Fringe can be a tough place. There’s a lot of stress, a lot of excitement, and little time to yourself.
READ MORE

Becoming a Bard: Katie Sherrard

Four years ago I saw The Handlebards perform Romeo and Juliet in Edinburgh. It was a total joy. I thought: these women have to be either extremely adventurous or incredibly mad to be cycling the length of the UK and performing Shakespeare non-stop. Four years later – and halfway through
READ MORE

Highs and Lows: Year 2 in the Saddle

  Hello! These words come from the mind of Ross Ford, second term GreenBard boyo. Having finished our 2018 Twelfth Night tour, I was itching to go again for this season, despite having faced some of the most intense physical pain while tackling some of the toughest hills in the
READ MORE

Meet The Boys: Introducing the Cast of Much Ado About Nothing

Whilst The Girls are busy rehearsing, we thought it was high time that we introduced The Boys for this years all-male production of Much Ado About Nothing! You will recognise most of this motley crew from last summer – as three of them have decided to come back for another
READ MORE

Meet The Girls: Introducing the Cast of The Tempest

We’re thrilled to be able to introduce the cast for our all-female production of The Tempest! Rehearsals are just around the corner for the Girls, so what better time for us to introduce you to our brand new all-female troupe for summer 2019. See what other acting roles they’ve had
READ MORE

Life on the Road: The Girls

God ye good-morrow! Sian the blue bard here! I’m part of this year’s female troupe and we’re currently out on tour with Romeo and Juliet (or Ромео и Јулија in Serbian, as we recently discovered. But more on that later). Right now I’m sitting in a café and flicking through
READ MORE

SOME OF THE AWESOME PEOPLE WE WORK WITH...

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  • “Gloriously eccentric and very very funny.”

    The Stage

  • “I have never seen a version as outrageous, or as uproariously funny.”

    Sir Ian McKellen

  • “Unmissable.”

    Broadway Baby

  • “Consistently hilarious…crackers and cracking!”

    York Press

ARE YOU FROM THE PRESS?

It’s a pleasure to meet you! We’ve put together lots of downloadable resources for you.
And if there’s anything else you need, please just shout!

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