Bell Shakespeare announces 2024 Season

The company’s first production of Shakespeare’s epic King Lear in over a decade, a touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,

Bell Shakespeare has announced its 2024 Season. For the first time in over a decade, the company presents a new production of King Lear, staging the epic work in an intimate setting as Australian audiences won’t have seen the play before. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will tour to over 23 venues throughout the country that it didn’t reach in 2021 after disruptions due to COVID lockdowns and border closures. Rounding out the Season, Artistic Director Peter Evans explores Shakespeare’s depictions of violence with In A Nutshell: The Poetry of Violence.

Artistic Director Peter Evans:

Welcome to Season 2024, where we relish Shakespeare’s highest achievements in the ridiculous and the sublime: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is very special to me, and whether you are revisiting an old friend in this play or are brand new to Shakespeare, it is a play to treasure. Meanwhile, in King Lear, the complexities and nuances of the play create an astonishing portrait of a family and a country torn apart, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with Robert Menzies, one of our finest classical actors for four decades, as he tackles one of the great roles in Western theatre.

Later in the year I will lead us through as many plays as I can fit In A Nutshell, an unashamedly personal journey through scenes and speeches I love, focused on the various ways Shakespeare explores and defines violence. We can’t wait to welcome you all into the theatre next year.

Opening the season at the Sydney Opera House from 6 – 30 March, Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is reawakened in this breathless production brimming with magic, mirth and mayhem. The production toured to a handful of venues in regional Australia in 2021 before COVID border closures disrupted the remaining dates. It returns in 2024 to play at 23 venues in New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and the ACT, offering audiences in these states and territories a second chance to see the fast, funny and family-friendly reimagining of this perennial favourite, with many of the original cast returning.

For the first time since 2010, Bell Shakespeare presents King Lear, directed by Peter Evans and starring one of Australia’s best classical actors Robert Menzies (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet) in the titular role. A veteran actor of the stage, Menzies brings a brilliant and entirely unique interpretation to the character of Lear, reflecting his four decades of experience working on some of the great productions in Australia’s theatre history, collaborating with acclaimed theatre makers including Barrie Kosky, Jim Sharman and Jean-Pierre Mignon.

Premiering in Sydney at The Neilson Nutshell from 20 June – 20 July before travelling to Arts Centre Melbourne from 25 July – 11 August, this heart-wrenching new production of King Lear promises to be powerful and utterly unforgettable, staging Shakespeare’s epic of the imagination in a profoundly intimate setting.

The second installment of In A Nutshell will take audiences on a journey through Artistic Director Peter Evans’ favourite scenes and speeches that explore the poetry of violence in Shakespeare’s plays, from Macbeth to Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet to Richard III. Performed by a team of Bell Shakespeare’s favourite actors jumping from scene to scene, the production explores how Shakespeare questions our relationship with violence, and his use of the word to describe the limits of emotion and the rashness provoked by love and hate. In A Nutshell: The Poetry of Violence will be presented at The Neilson Nutshell from 5 – 8 September and Canberra Theatre Centre from 13 – 14 September.

Alongside this mainstage programming, Bell Shakespeare will present their extensive national outreach and education program in schools, communities and Juvenile Justice centres across Australia.

Other events throughout the year hosted at Bell Shakespeare’s home at Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct will include a film screening series Shakespeare on Film, a panel on Shakespeare and the language revolution, a pop trivia night, the lively script reading series, Play In A Day, featuring Cymbeline, and the ever popular Sonnets & Semillon.

Season Details

Venue: Sydney Opera House
Date: 6 – 30 Mar 2024

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne
Date: 25 April – 11 May 2024

Venue: Canberra Theatre Centre
Date: 7 – 15 June 2024

For more information click Here

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