We talk to master theatre maker David Glass about his work across 70 countries and bringing Charles Dickens’ Bleak House to life for a new generation.

Q. Where did the idea of re imagining Bleak House come from?

A. I read Bleak House at A-Level and also saw Mike Alfred’s Shared Experience version. For me it is the most visually and physically exciting of Dickens books but I also feel with the main protagonist being a woman, Esther Summerson, it is a truly modern story of a woman trying to find identity and her struggle for power in a male dominated world. Also the destructive power of the law makes it very relevant at the moment, but finally it is a brilliant story.

Q. How has working across the globe enhanced your own theatre practice?

A. I see theatre as both universal and specific, and as we are going through extraordinary changes all across the world, the fundamental themes of love, death and greed are again expressing themselves in vivid and powerful stories. I love all kinds of theatre and each story has its way of being told. Working across different cultures reveals many ways of expressing these stories.

Q. What next for the Ensemble?

A. The Ensemble has just finished Tempest in Malaysia which was a huge hit, meanwhile I am directing the first iteration of Fight Club at East 15. Next year is our 30th anniversary with a national tour of Gormenghast – one of the Ensemble’s most successful shows.

David Glass Ensemble’s Bleak House comes to the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth from Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 September 2019. Click here for more information and to book tickets.


David Glass Ensemble’s Bleak House – A Theatre Royal Winchester & New Theatre Royal Portsmouth co-commission by the David Glass Ensemble with support from Konzept Arts & Ideas, Bath Spa University & Santander Universities.