Category Archives: theatre companies

Looking forward

This website was created because of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Events to mark the date were taking place all around the world, and so it felt important that Australia have some place to go where people could find out what was happening near them or get ideas for things to do. I also wanted it to survive as a record of what happened throughout this year, in case anyone in the future is curious.

Of course, Shakespeare never stops, so despite the anniversary year having concluded there is lots more going on, looking ahead. Productions of Shakespeare to look forward to next year include…

Right now Sport for Jove are doing Julius Caesar and the much less often performed Antony and Cleopatra, in rep.

Genesian Theatre is about to open Much Ado About Nothing.

NUTS (the University of NSW Theatrical Society) will be opening their season with The Tempest in March.

Bard on the Beach will soon be opening Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor in rep.

Melbourne Theatre Company has included a production of Macbeth in their subscription season.

MOST excitingly, The Puzzle Collective’s SuperHal!: the superhero origin story of Henry V will be swooping in in March (in the meantime you can come to the fundraiser Shakespeare Cosplay Cabaret on 28 January at the Red Rattler).

B&W text: A Grand Spectacular Pageant Ball.
Advertisement for the 1914 Shakespeare Ball

And there are bound to be many more. Artists will always continue to perform Shakespeare, because the work will continue to give us the expression we need of our most intense experiences of being human.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me contributions to this site over the course of the year. The site will no longer be updated, but will remain up so the links and resources stay active, and I hope also to act as an archive of what went on throughout this year in Australasia. Our Facebook page will stay available whenever anyone wants to share comments or events.

The breadth and variety of shows and events this past year, to which our nearly 100 posts stand testament, are proof of the passion and ingenuity of the many people in Australia and New Zealand who use Shakespeare’s work as a conduit for the things we feel driven to say. It has been a pleasure and privilege to watch.

Young white man and young black woman lie on grass holding a skull between them.

SuperHal will save us all

28 January Shakespeare Cosplay Cabaret

7 – 18 March SuperHal – the superhero origin story of Shakespeare’s Henry V

From The Puzzle Collective, who brought us The Tempest: Steampunked comes a spectacular new adventure. Shakespeare’s two Henry IV plays along with Henry V tell the story of a prince learning to understand and use his power. But what if that included superpowers? These favourites of the Shakespeare canon are being reimagined in a world where the many beloved and colourful characters involved are gifted with some astonishing special abilities. The journey of the hero to accept responsibility and wield power for the greater good is a classic of the comic book world – but Shakespeare got there first!

There are two events to mark in your diary:

The Shakespearean Superhero Cosplay Cabaret at the Red Rattler in Marrickville, 28 January…

photo of broadsword

…and SUPERHAL itself, at the NIDA theatre in Kensington for a two-week run in March.

Check back here for more information, as we get closer to the fun.

Logo of man in lion superhero costume. Text: Shakespeare Superhero Cosplay

Henry IV + Henry V + Superpowers

Next year’s Bard on the Beach

Young, white man and woman lie with their heads together.
Romeo and Juliet

From 20 January 2017, venues around Sydney.

Bard on the Beach always do two plays in repertory, usually a comedy and a tragedy. The summer of 2017 will see Romeo and Juliet and the much more rarely performed Merry Wives of Windsor grace the Balmoral foreshores. The company has expanded its performance sites over the last few years, so now you can see them both north and south of the harbour.

There is nothing more Sydney that an outdoor, summer Shakespeare.

Full details here.

Sport for Jove New Summer Shakespeare Season

From 17 December, Bella Vista Farm and Leura Everglades.

Hearing what Sport for Jove will be doing next is always something to look forward to. This year’s outdoor summer season looks as incisive and vigorous as ever, with a focus on the Roman plays.

Julius Caesar

A play about self-serving politicians manipulating the mob into destroying their democracy themselves – what could be more topical?

This play is very much an ensemble piece, and boasts a cast of great depth, but Suzanne Pereira will carry the title role.

Antony and Cleopatra

One of the great tragedies, surprisingly rarely performed in Australia. Love and loss on the scale of empires.

Camilla Ah Kin and Christian Stollery will be playing the couple who find a kingdom well lost.

Full details here.

Opening this weekend.

Two women seated outdoors, in red and black.
Camilla Ah Kin plays Cleopatra and Suzanne Pereira is Julius Caesar Photo by James Brickwood

Double Bill from Montague Basement

29 November – 10 December, Erskineville

Text in watercolour: Montague Basement

Macbeth

and

The Taming of the Shrew

An ambitious double bill staged up close and personal in the compact space of the PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, Erskineville.

“A lean, contemporary and viciously polemical Shrew up aside an abstract, mercurial and surreal Macbeth; this thrilling double bill is Shakespeare for those who want something a bit different.”

Full details and tickets here.

Smudged chalk sketch of man and woman, head and shoulders, screaming.

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.

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

The Pop-Up Globe Lives On

New Zealand actors, here is your opportunity to become part of the next phase of the life of this magical appearing-disappearing-reappearing theatre.

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

Auckland’s Pop-Up Globe is auditioning for actors to join their 2017 season. Auditions are by invitation, and the work is paid (whoo-hoo!). Auditions take place in September and October.

Details for what is needed to secure an audition are here.

Logo with block drawing of Globe theatre. Text: Pop-up Globe the 2016 Auckland season.