On the 7th of February playwright Simon Stephens walked into Roding House, East 15 Acting School, with director and friend Tom Hughes, into a room full of anxious students on their second day of rehearsal for ‘Three Kingdoms’. They were all eager to hear what secrets he, as the playwright, would unfold on them. Three Kingdoms returns to the UK for the first time after 2012, then directed by German director Sebastian Nübling.

‘What if I’m the bad person? What if I’m the white bird?’

Tom Hughes (Director) and Simon Stephens (Playwright) with the BA Acting (International) Class of 2018 discussing THREE KINGDOMS, at Roding House, E15 (February 2018)

He walked in wearing a suit and a big grin. Simon Stephens immediately dove into talking about the play, his experiences and the history of it. He told students about the process of writing Three Kingdoms and encouraged taking it apart, and making into a new piece of theatre. ‘Tackle the beast’ any way you want to, he says. ‘Cut, add and create. Do whatever you want with it. I want to be surprised’.

And surprised he will be, with the writer giving us his blessing, director Tom Hughes told the cast they could be as creative as they wanted to be and that is actually what they have been doing.. Different languages will be spoken in the play, pieces of text have been cut and replaced by songs like 99 luftballon and Fly me to the moon. Women are men and men are women in this world where you never really quite know what’s happening. So, what is Three Kingdoms about? In the words of SS ‘It’s about what people do to each other’, and this cast is richtig auregend, nicht wahr?

Eliah Arnstjerna (Class of 2018) and the ensemble of the Class of 2018 in the middle of an improptu physical-musical improvisation between rehearsal breaks.
Three Kingdoms returns to London at the Corbett Theatre, presented by BA Acting (International) Class of 2018 on Wednesday 21, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 March at 7.30pm and with a matinee performance on Friday 23 March at 2.30pm.

And to contextualize the work process, here are some comments from students currently working on the project.

Simonas Mozūra says “Our company is combined of people coming from the most different backgrounds…No one knows what is happening in the room until it actually happens… We are able to find connections that no one else in the world could replicate.”

Christos Floros (Class of 2018), Tom Hughes (director), Simon Stephens (playwright) and Wilburg (woof!) in conversation at Roding House, E15 (February 2018)

“Three Kingdoms has been an adventure, turning your brain off and just going with your animal instinct. What comes from that is raw emotion that can only lead to a deeper truth. Three Kingdoms makes you realize that all of us can be the white bird.” comments Roze Elisa.

Eva Ditzelmüller puts it briefly “A bunch of wolves tearing on a piece of flesh – Absolutely madness and damn good theatre”.

Tongchai O. Hansen (Class of 2018) is also serving as AD to Tom Hughes in this project, after his break-through directorial debut at the International Festival of New Work 2017.

And finally Liesl Jensen’s comment is very interesting and relevant for actors-in-training: “Every day Three Kingdoms (in the rehearsal process) finds a new way to be hilarious, terrifying, touching, and most of all surprising.”


The BA Acting (International) course, lead by Zois Pigadas, provides a complete 3-year conservatoire training for careers in acting tailored specifically for international actors. Most graduates are proficient in more than one language, which gives them greater casting opportunities. The course focuses on training multi-talented and diverse performers. While training, our students experiment with a variety of acting methodologies and also writing and devising their own work.

Explore the Graduate Student Profiles Class of 2018.




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