The all-female Shakespeare company

Smooth Faced Gentlemen was founded in April 2012, by Ashlea Kaye, Michael Grady-Hall, Yaz Al-Shaater, and Mariam Bell.

We create fresh, fast, and faithful productions of Shakespeare with entirely female casts.

Smooth Faced Gentlemen is run with support from theatre troupe Three’s Company, the Anomalous Visuals collective, and the IdeasTap Creative Space programme.

The Team

Behind The Scenes

Founders / Directors
  • Ashlea  Kaye
      Ashlea KayeArtistic Director / Co-Founder
    • Mariam Bell
        Mariam BellAssociate Director / Co-Founder
      • Michael Grady-Hall
          Michael Grady-HallFounder / Associate Director
        • Tom Crawshaw
            Tom CrawshawAssociate Director
          • Yaz Al-Shaater
              Yaz Al-ShaaterDirector / Producer / Founder
            Associate Artists
            • Anna Beecher
                Anna BeecherAssociate Dramaturg
              • Celia Dugua
                  Celia DuguaAssociate Technical Designer
                The Team
                • Ashlea Kaye – artistic director
                • Leila Sykes – development
                • Yaz Al-Shaater – director/producer
                Advisory Board
                • Hannah Miller
                  casting director, Royal Shakespeare Company


                • Mina Anwar


                • James Haddrell
                  artistic and executive director, Greenwich Theatre


                • David Byrne
                  artistic director, New Diorama


                Our Mission

                Smooth Faced Gentlemen are a theatre company with one purpose: to create fast, fun, fresh and faithful productions of Shakespeare using an entirely female cast.

                We like our Shakespeare fast and fun. We see the audience at the centre of our work. We work with small, tight ensembles, involving lots of doubling. We aim to make the work accessible to new audiences, whilst still staying true its complexity. We love playing with conventions and preconceptions by experimenting with new interpretations of characters and events.

                We use the single gender convention as a lens to cast a new light on these well know plays, challenging audiences to take a fresh look at Shakespeare’s wonderful stories.

                As a company, we don’t set out to promote any overt political message, feminist or otherwise. We do all want to see equality in the arts, but we believe the individual preconceptions surrounding our company says more about the state of gender equality today than any mission statement.

                Our audience come to our work expecting to be affected by the absence of male actors. Our audience leave affected by the story, the interpretation, the staging, the pace, and the fresh take on Shakespeare’s wonderful tales. That’s our aim.