Category Archives: performances

Auckland Pop-Up Globe New Season

Born out of pure passion and determination, it is only fitting that New Zealand’s Pop-Up Globe theatre should continue to thrive on the same.

This gorgeous project, which manages to be research, art and entertainment all at once, will be returning early in 2017, giving New Zealand artists and audiences another chance to experience the joy and wonder of this unique space.

Interior of open-air Globe with actors in period costume.
Twelfth Night

Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Othello, and Henry V comprise the newly announced season.

The 2017 season will run from February 23 to May 14 and tickets are on sale now.

Here is an interview with founder and Artistic Director Miles Gregory.

Posters for the 4 plays listed above, with composite portraits.

Shakespeare 400 Perth Festival

22 October, Perth.

A full day of events at the beautiful campus of the University of Western Australia (they have peacocks).

Shakespeare Shenanigans perform stage combat scenesIn this year full of commemorations, the largest full-day celebration to take place in Australia is still to come. The Shakespeare 400 Perth Festival is free, family friendly and packed with events grand and small, from the sublime and the serious to the silly.

Man and woman in Elizabethan dress.
Expect to see all kinds of characters

Starting at midday, with seven different on-campus locations, you can encounter strolling players, listen to some songs or sonnets, or get lost in the Forest of Arden. There are games, stalls, scenes performed, an insult-flinging competition, and even the chance to involve yourself in Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene. There are lots of activities for children – remember that most Halloween children’s games date back to the middle ages. There are far too many events to list here, so click through to their printable schedule and plan for your favourites.

Details of the full day’s schedule here.

Lots of frolics are promised for all.

Hamlet, four shows only

14 & 15 October, Sydney.

Presented by Artes Christi and directed by Eugene Raggio, this is Hamlet on a huge scale for a tiny run. With almost 50 artists making up the cast and crew, this is a truly collaborative event incorporating a broad range of talents. Productions of this play often end up feeling like domestic dramas, as small casts can play out the intimate personal interactions between characters, but struggle to show the wider political frame that makes the central struggle for power matter so much. This version reveals how the ripples sent out from the epicentre that is Prince Hamlet affect people far beyond his circle of personal concern. It reminds us that this is a dynastic and a political drama, too.

At the York Theatre, Seymour Centre.

Bookings here.

Banner showing a new moon with text of production details, as per the link for bookings.

Cymbeline – a rare jewel

5 – 15 October, Marrickville.

Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare’s last plays, is almost never performed in this country, so this is a very special chance to see a rare and curious jewel.

Staged by Secret House at the Depot Theatre (formerly the site of Sidetrack), directed by Sean O’Riordan, this is a play full to the brim with exquisite imagery and strong characters. You will see many of the elements that made Shakespeare’s name – a wrongly accused woman, lost children, mistaken identities, families torn asunder and reconciled – built into a folktale that is almost gothic in style.

Full details and bookings here.

Poster showing blonde woman holding knife in dark forest.
Cymbeline Final SRGB WEB

Much Dell’Arte About Nothing

17 & 18 October, Parramatta.

Much dell’Arte About Nothing

From Matriark Theatre, for three shows only, comes this lively, clever mash-up designed for school audiences. Get all the fun of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, plus all the fun of Shakespeare’s best known and loved bits, rolled up together and rolled about a bit.

“Utilising slapstick, masks, stage combat, dance and stock characters, watch familiar Shakespearean references be transformed and invigorated.” – Read about the show here.

Full details of the performance schedule and bookings at Parramatta Riverside Theatre here.

Plus one show at the Casula Powerhouse 21 October.

Woman and man in Commedia masks and Elizabethan ruffs.

An STC Dream

16 September – 22 October, Sydney

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Kip Williams, staged by Sydney Theatre Company, will be running at the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre for the remainder of September and most of October.

The cast includes Rob Collins, Honey Debelle, Brandon McClelland and Rose Riley as the four young lovers. Josh McConville, who only recently was Hamlet, has diminished (or is it blossomed?) into Bottom. Paula Arundell as Titania should be a treat, and I’m sure Bruce Spence has had a Mechanical in him looking for an outlet for his whole career.

The publicity leans heavily on a darker take on this play being some kind of innovation. Dark has been the default on this piece for several decades now, and I don’t think we’ve seen a gauze fairy wing since Vivian Leigh, but I guess they need an angle.

Teaching this play last year gave me my first reason to dig down into it properly, and what I discovered is that it is primarily about transformation. Turning Bottom into an ass is only the most literal embodiment of all the many transformations we experience, each of which is shown here to be as glorious as it is terrifying: magic is transformation, but so is acting, and so, above all, is love.

Full details and tickets here.

Young man and woman struggle with each other.
Honey Debelle and Rob Collins in rehearsal

How dangerous is mercy?

4 September, Sydney.

This event is already close to selling out, so move with a bridegroom’s fresh alacrity if you want tickets.

The Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas this year will include a cross-disciplinary session inspired by The Merchant of Venice which is sure to be fascinating.

In an innovative format, a performance of the trial scene from The Merchant of Venice will accompany a panel discussion with experts offering literary, philosophical and legal perspectives on the issues raised by this passage.

From the SOH website:

“The quality of mercy is not strained: It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. / Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blessed him that gives, and him that takes.” – Portia, The Merchant of Venice

Have we lost the quality of mercy? If we aim only for what is fair, or for justice, do we narrow the scope for something better? Is there still room for mercy in a secular state?

Sydney Opera House and Bell Shakespeare collaborate to bring the courtroom session from The Merchant of Venice to life and focus on contemporary dilemmas of mercy, justice and the law.

Speakers: Deng Adut, A.C. Grayling, Germaine Greer and Michael Kirby, Chaired by Jane Caro

Cast: John Bell (Duke), Brian Lipson (Shylock), Andrea Demetriades (Portia), James Evans (Antonio), Damien Strouthos (Bassanio), Jacob Warner (Gratiano), Directed by Peter Evans

Full details here.

Twelfth Night at Belvoir Street

From 23 July, Sydney.

One of the highlights of Shakespeare performance in Sydney this year will surely be Belvoir’s production of Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night manages to be a joyous festival of inversions – “Girls are boys, boys are girls, puritans are lusting suitors, drunkards are moralists, and fools, of course, are wise” – while also revealing just how destabilised these changes to the expected order of things can make us feel. It identifies love absolutely with this feeling that the earth is tipping beneath our feet. “Even so quickly may one catch the plague.” It also shows love as the search for the right matched self – order is restored when we finally see clearly what is in front of us. It is for these things that this play has remained so adored, and so often performed.

Director Eamon Flack has leant heavily towards a cast of veteran actors who know and love their Shakespeare. This will be a chance to see a much loved text spoken by actors who understand fully the rhythms and nuances that create Shakespeare’s characters. It will be interesting to see what is brought to the story by an Orsino who really should know better, or a Malvolio who really, REALLY should know better by now.

This play’s seeming foolery forces us to ask the question: how can we know for sure who it is we love?

Mixed group of actors in a rehearsal room, dancing.
Image by Brett Boardman

23 July – 4 September 2016
8pm Saturday 23 July
6.30pm Sunday 24 July
8pm Tuesday 26 July
Opening Night
8pm Wednesday 27 July
Unwaged Performance
2pm Thursday 1 September
Sunday Forum
3pm 4 September
Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday & Friday 8pm,
Saturday 2pm & 8pm, Sunday 5pm
Box Office 02 9699 3444


Margaret of Anjou arrives in Sydney

8 July, 18 August, Sydney.

“This spark will prove a raging fire.”

A French Queen of England, a loyal adulteress, a devoted leader but a devastating foe, Queen Margaret is one of Shakespeare’s most vivid renderings of a historic character. Intrigue, betrayal, romance and revenge coloured the life of this brilliant and compelling woman.

In the 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, countless theatre makers have wrestled with the task that has become a constant in theatrical practice: how do we make this new? We have seen Hamlet played by lions, The Taming of the Shrew in a high school and Macbeth in a kitchen, but only a very brave few have had the ingenuity to take Shakespeare’s words and craft a new play, with ‘all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order’. One such impresario is Elizabeth Schafer, her chosen story that of the Wars’ Reddest Rose, Margaret of Anjou.

Straddling fifty-two years of history, three kings and no fewer than four of Shakespeare’s plays, the story of Queen Margaret is less a power parable, more a tale of the resilience, resolve and charisma that is demanded of a princess, queen, general and mother. Taken from her home in France and married to a foreign king, Margaret fights passionately for her new house. No such fight is without casualties.

Shakespeare Twentyscore and The Puzzle Productions invite you to two staged readings of Shakespeare’s ‘new’ play, Margaret of Anjou. Performances will take place at 7pm on the 8th of July at UNSW’s Io Myers Studio and the 18th of August at the University of Notre Dame Studio, Broadway.

A cast of 16 includes Claire Bird, Teresa Jakovich and Wendy Strehlow as Margaret, Chris Huntly-Turner as Suffolk, John Galea as King Henry VI, and Jane Bergeron as Richard III.

Some further background to the project and a short podcast from the Director are available here.

Margaret of Anjou by William Shakespeare

  • Tickets for 8 July (Io Myers Studio, UNSW) are $10.
  • The performance on 18 August (Notre Dame Studio) is free and unticketed.

For further information contact Anna at

Poster with superimposed stencilled rose. Text with details of performance, as above.