Press room

Barbican and RSC collaboration of Redefining Juliet created by Storme Toolis

lots of collected images of a couple embracing

Redefining Juliet, first created by Storme Toolis in 2015, is remounted this November with a new cast and directed by Robin Norton Hale, in collaboration with the Barbican and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Toolis, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, casts three performers to share the role of the eponymous heroine of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Driven by her own desire to play Juliet, Toolis choses actors whose femininity and value have been questioned by society. Redefining Juliet combines scenes from Romeo and Juliet with the performers’ own hard-hitting, personal stories. In selecting those who would not typically be given the opportunity to play this leading character, Toolis challenges widely held societal ideals about beauty and desirability.

Originally developed through the Barbican’s Open Lab programme, with the process documented and broadcast on BBC Four, this new iteration of Redefining Juliet received a period of R&D in Stratford-Upon-Avon, culminating in a work-in-progress public reading in June at The Other Place, as part of the RSC’s Mischief Festival.

The cast of Redefining Juliet is James Le Lacheur, Athena Stevens and Lara Steward.

Storme Toolis is an actress, teacher and influencer. She has made regular TV appearances including New Tricks and the 2016 Paralympic Mars campaign. She is currently working as an English teacher. She trained at Ovalhouse Youth Theatre and studied drama at the University of Kent. She is a patron of CircusStarr and an associate of ADD International working to end violence against women and girls.

Redefining Juliet is part of the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change.

Notes to Editors

The Barbican’s Open Lab programme supports the development of emerging and practicing artists, giving artists the chance to experiment in a working theatrical space without the expectation of a final product.

The Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. It presents bold artistic responses to vital global issues including feminism, climate change and human rights, while providing a platform for voices currently underrepresented in the arts. The season includes world-class music, theatre, dance, film, visual arts and learning and runs throughout 2018.


Public information

Box office: 0845 120 7511

Listings information

Redefining Juliet

Storme Toolis


Artistic and Creative Direction by Storme Toolis

Directed by Robin Norton Hale

Designed by Kate Lane

Produced by Sophie George Moore

Thu 29-Fri 30 Nov 2018

The Pit, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS


1 hour/no interval

£8 (schools performance); £15 (public performance) plus booking fee 

Age guidance: 14+

Post-show talk: Thu 29 Nov (free to same-day ticket holders)

Developed in collaboration with the Barbican and the RSC