Tristan & Yseult

Adapted & Directed by Emma Rice

Writers:  Carl Grose & Anna Maria Murphy


"If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you." ***** The Guardian June 2013

"Spectacular yet intimate... I loved it" ***** The Times June 2013

"I loved it with a passion" ***** The Guardian 2005


Cornish King Mark is at war; he rules with his head not his heart. But he hasn’t counted on falling head over heels for his enemy’s sister, or expected the arrival of the enigmatic Tristan.

This critically acclaimed production catapulted Kneehigh onto the national stage. This is the original tale of forbidden desires, broken hearts and the agony of choosing one human being over another. Seen through the eyes of the 'Unloved', Tristan & Yseult blends comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths, in an irresistible night of love. 

Tristan & Yseult is one of Kneehigh’s most loved shows which critics have called “a triumph”, “deliriously joyful” and “breathtaking in every respect”

"Sink down upon us. Night of love, make me forget I live."


Loved it? 


US Tour 2015

We are excited to be touring Tristan & Yseult to four venues in 2014/15, including a return to St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn



Kneehigh are a UK based theatre company with a local, national and international profile. For over 30 years we have created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre and perform with the joyful anarchy that audiences have come to expect from this ground-breaking company.

Kneehigh tell stories. Based in Cornwall in breath-taking barns on the south coast we create theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale. We work with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, makers and musicians and are passionate about our multi-disciplined creative process.

In 2010 Kneehigh launched The Asylum, a beautiful and flexible nomadic structure, which means we now have a venue to call home as well as being one of the leading touring theatre companies in the UK. We have now presented three seasons in The Asylum in Cornwall, and will continue to reinvent the space and explore new locations in future years. The Asylum will return to Cornwall in 2014

Alongside our national and international touring and Asylum seasons, we run the Kneehigh Rambles Programme - aiming to engage creatively with communities in Cornwall and beyond through event and adventure

Book Tickets

Sun 16 November 2014 - Sun 14 December 2014 St Ann's Warehouse Book Now
Fri 23 January 2015 - Sun 22 February 2015 South Coast Rep Book Now
Thu 05 March 2015 - Sun 15 March 2015 Emerson, Boston Book Now
Wed 29 April 2015 - Sun 24 May 2015 Alley Theatre, Houston (001) 713 220 5700

Watch, Look and Listen

Related News

Can you help us?

We're looking for a crack team of volunteers to help spread the word about Tristan & Yseult in Cornwall

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Love Letters

We've been getting lots of beautiful love letters sent in for our exhibition at the Hall for Cornwall - check out our gallery!

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Thanksgiving on the Beach

Thanksgiving on the Beach

The Tristan & Yseult company were treated to a very special Thanksgiving on the beach in California. Here are some photos from the weekend sent back by Emma Rice

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Tristan & Yseult company jamming at Berkeley Rep

Tristan & Yseult company jamming at Berkeley Rep

The Kneehigh company is a talented group of actor-musicians. When performing Tristan & Yseult at Berkeley Rep in January 2014, they had a little jam session, which Mike Shepherd, Joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh, managed to film. Enjoy!

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Berkeleyside Review: Sublime tour de force at Berkeley Rep

"First-rate theater lifts our well-cushioned minds and derrières out of life’s doldrums, challenging us to contemplate the great mysteries of human existence: love, hate, honor, betrayal, death, and why zippers always get stuck when we are in a hurry. It also titillates our bawdier senses, tickles our funny bones, threatens our presumptions and steals our breath away with unexpected brilliance and beauty. Berkeley Rep’s Tristan & Yseult, running now through Jan. 18, is first-rate theater. "

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Bohemian review: Circus of Love

"Meanwhile, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the U.K.'s award-winning Kneehigh Theater (The Wild Bride) returns to the Rep with a restaging of the show that made them famous a decade ago. With its gorgeous air-born love scenes and soaring acrobatics, the dazzling Tristan & Yseult demonstrates the influence that Cirque du Soleil has had on the theatrical world, creating a remarkable loop of inspiration from theater to circus and right back to theater."

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SFist Reviews: 'Tristan & Yseult' At Berkeley Rep

"It's been a good year for Bay Area theater overall, with some stellar productions like SHN's Anything Goes, Black Watch from A.C.T. and the National Theater of Scotland, and No Man's Land at Berkeley Rep. The Rep is closing out the year, as they have the past two years, with a moving and original new production from England's Kneehigh Theatre, Tristan & Yseult. The piece, like their previous Bay Area outings Brief Encounter and The Wild Bride, is a kind of mashup of several texts along with music, movement, contemporary references, and dance. It features the return of Polish actress Patrycja Kujawska (The Wild Bride) playing the title role of Yseult, and the talented Andrew Durand in role of Tristan, along with a terrific ensemble that includes Carly Bawden (playing a role dubbed Lady With the White Hands whose singing voice throughout the show is downright magical), and the hilarious Craig Johnson who spends part of the show in drag as Yseult's handmaid, Miss Brangian."

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Stark Insider: A breathtaking ‘Tristan & Yseult’

"I could begin by saying that Kneehigh is Cornwall’s critically acclaimed national theatre, but that would be boring and entirely beside the point. Better to point out that they’ve produced a cult hit that goes to the core of what theatre is all about. Kneehigh is fun, they’re smart, they’re kicky, and their version of Tristan & Yseult has an electricity that I couldn’t have imagined before last night."

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Broadway World: A Marvelous Blend of Modern Theatre and Good, Old-Fashioned Storytelling

"Berkeley Rep's Tristan & Yseult is one of those shows that combines the best elements of modern theatre with good old-fashioned storytelling and does so with amazing brilliance. It all seems effortless, but what does it actually take to bring this ancient and tragic tale of passion and betrayal to life each night with such precision and genius? From across the pond comes Cornwall's Kneehigh Theatre Company with their wonderfully inventive and thoroughly British way of telling stories, and we find that great gobs of cheekiness, imagination and daring are what it takes - but it also needs an enthusiastic audience for the sparks to really fly. I highly recommend that you help make those sparks fly and help in the co-creation of Tristan & Yseult which is playing now through January 6, 2014 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre."

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Theatre Dogs: Passion, ache and lots of great music in splendid Tristan

"The thing about a love story is this: you want to feel it. You need to feel it. When Juliet wakes just after Romeo bites it, if you’re not feeling that dagger in your own chest, what’s the point? There are only so many love stories – love gained, love lost, love unrequited – and so many variations. How, then, do you make the story fresh? How do you reignite the passions and make your audience feel it all anew? The shortest answer to that query is: let Kneehigh tell the story."

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San Francisco Chronicle: 'Tristan & Yseult' review: A comic and moving take

"An age-old tragic love triangle is made fresh and enchantingly vital in the "Tristan & Yseult" that opened Tuesday at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre. It's also filled with all the remarkably inventive, eye-catching theatricality we've come to expect from England's Kneehigh company, not to mention freewheeling comedy. Somehow the plentiful humor only deepens the tragic impact in the end."

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"iveting acting, devil-may-care physicality and a whiff of Theatre of the Absurd all contribute to this fully satisfying production—a daringly theatrical quilt. It’s risky when the doors to theatrical potential swing open wide and creative interpretation gets free rein. That can be a recipe for disaster; but here, cast and director embrace the challenge with full commitment and their risks pay off more than handsomely."

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East Bay Express Review: Berkeley Rep's 'Tristan & Yseult' Makes Theater Fun Again

"Unlike many theater troupes performing today, Britain's Kneehigh Theatre — the company behind last year's The Wild Bride and Brief Encounter — appears hell-bent on making sure you have a good time. Kneehigh isn't merely interested in you enjoying the show — although it succeeds swimmingly there as well — but in thoroughly enveloping you in its weird and wonderful world. To that effect, Tristan & Yseult, which runs through January 6 at Berkeley Rep, is the vehicle for that transformation, and it is entertainment at its best and brightest."

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Guide2 Review

"If I was lucky enough to see the show a second, third or fourth time, I would notice something new with each viewing. If it had been possible I would very happily have stayed in my seat to watch last night’s show all over again."

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Western Morning News Review

"Ten years ago I wrote that Kneehigh's Tristan and Yseult was theatre at its most absorbing and entertaining. I haven't changed my mind. This is a show not to be missed"

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West Briton Review

"It's a production of immense energy, intense thought and amazing passion... If you're even remotely interested in theatre, you owe it to yourself to get along"

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The Guardian *****

"If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you."

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The York Press Review

"KNEEHIGH have done it again. Not only have the Cornish company revived Emma Rice’s hit that first played the Playhouse in 2005 but the 2013 vintage of Tristan & Yseult is even better."

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Yorkshire Post Review

"For heightened emotional drama, you can’t beat a good love triangle – and Kneehigh’s seminal work Tristan & Yseult, first created ten years ago and now back in Leeds to launch a UK tour, is one of the best there is. A powerful, playful and totally compelling piece of theatre it combines romance, humour, movement and music with moments of heart-wrenching poignancy."

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Same Fan Review

"The auditorium was electric from start to finish and the cabaret-style of the production had apparently infected everyone present. Go and see this play."

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A Younger Theatre Review

"I don’t feel that there has been a piece of theatre I have seen this year that could possibly be better than this. It is warm, engaging and utterly irresistible"

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The Times *****

"A spectacular yet intimate show in which the comical, the classical, the heartfelt and the sultry all become one...Did I mention that I loved it?"

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The Stage Review

"Kneehigh’s revival and reworking of the old Cornish romance is exuberant, adventurous theatre, by turns clever, poignant, passionate, sexy and cheerfully daft."

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British Theatre Guide review

"I have never heard such a roar of genuine appreciation. Tristan and Yseult is great theatre, it deserved the standing ovation. It is often breathtaking. Enough, listen, this should be a two word review: SEE IT!"

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Adapted & Directed by   Emma Rice
Writers:   Anna Maria Murphy & Carl Grose
Composer and Musical Director   Stu Barker
Designer   Bill Mitchell
Lighting Designer   Malcolm Rippeth
Sound Designer   Gregory Clarke
Associate Sound Designer   Helen Atkinson
Producer   Paul Crewes

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