What is rotating repertory?
Rotating repertory is when a company of actors rehearse and perform a number of different plays simultaneously. For example, a three play rotating repertory season might be comprised of Shakespeare’s HENRY V, Euripides’ HECUBA and Sheridan’s THE RIVALS. The actor that played Henry V on Wednesday night would play Polydorus, the ghost of Hecuba’s dead son, on Thursday night and Bob Acres, the landed buffoon in THE RIVALS, on Friday night.
This constant changing of character, type and style prevents the actor from settling or the performance from becoming routine. Rotating repertory continually refreshes and strengthens the actor’s muscles and establishes a balance for the actor’s psyche. The actor is allowed to explore the depths of despair in a tragedy or the highs of a comedy more fully, without losing their center or emotional stability.
Unlike a traditional repertory company that uses the same actor to play the leading man or the ingénue in a series of different productions over a season, rotating repertory requires that each actor be capable of a variety of different roles, in one play taking on the romantic lead, in another the supporting villain.
The repertory system inherently distances the theatre from the often destructive and limiting forces of realism. Repertory requires the actor to reclaim his rightful place at the center of the medium.