Actors From The London Stage

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Sir Patrick Stewart with fellow company members, circa 1975.

Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) was founded in 1975 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, by Professor Homer “Murph” Swander and the renowned stage & screen actor Sir Patrick Stewart, best known as Captain Picard on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Professor Xavier in the X-Men film franchise. 

The AFTLS company ethos and mission is simplicity at its finest. Five actors take the stage, with minimal props and costumes, and direct themselves in a performance of a complete Shakespeare play, with each actor portraying multiple roles. 

But the performance is only part of the experience. The company tours to colleges & universities across the United States twice yearly, with each tour organized and administered by the Shakespeare at Notre Dame office. Each of the five actors leads classes and workshops throughout the residency week.

The goal: to interpret Shakespeare’s text as a blueprint for a performance — and as a gateway to its wide-ranging, transformative poetry.

"It felt like my classroom was getting bigger. My students clearly felt their creative minds expanding in the actors' presence." – Rebekah Maggor, Vanderbilt University

Book a Tour Tour Blog Production History 

Upcoming Events

How does it work?

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The AFTLS company tours twice a year, with a different cast on each tour. They arrive at your school on Monday, and leave on Sunday. During the week, they present up to 3 full-length performances of a Shakespeare play. They also teach classes and workshops throughout the week.

Download our Frequently Asked Questions for more in-depth detail on the residency week. 

"Superior involvement, meaningful activities, and thoughtful feedback to the class. What expertise and energy they brought with them; we would welcome AFTLS back any time." – Donell Stines, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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I'd like to book a tour. 

Terrific. Just contact Alliance Artist Management for more information on dates, rates, and availability.

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I'd like to audition for an AFTLS tour. 

AFTLS auditions take place twice yearly in London by invitation only. Email us today to learn how you can be a part of the AFTLS experience. 

Touring soon:

Aftls S22 Much Ado Concept Art
Much Ado About Nothing, touring spring 2022.
Aftls F22 Macbeth Concept Art
Macbeth, touring fall 2022.
Aftls S23 R J Concept Art
Romeo and Juliet, touring spring 2023.








Actors From The London Stage Board:

Founder: Dr. Homer Swander
Academic Director: Peter Holland
Founding Directors: Tony Church, Lisa Harrow, Bernard Lloyd, Sir Patrick Stewart

Associate Directors: David Acton, Bruce Alexander, Peter Bray, Matthew Davies, Caroline Devlin, William Donaldson, Tim Hardy, Evvy Miller, Richard Neale, Paul O’Mahony, Michael Palmer, Eunice Roberts, Alison Skilbeck, Chris Staines, Lucy Tregear, Jack Whitam, Jennifer Winter, Alinka Wright

Emeritus: Gareth Armstrong, David Rintoul, Vivien Heilbron