Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in the heart of Cronulla’s race riots in new R+J

The story of Romeo and Juliet – the star crossed lovers from feuding families – has resonated with many cultures around the world for hundreds of years. Adapted into countless films and musicals, the Bard's timeless tale of love seems just as relevant as ever.

Next month, Sydney’s Impulse Theatre is giving Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet a new twist, and it’s one that’s close to home: set amongst the teeming chaos of Cronulla’s 2005 race riots.

R+J in Cronulla.
R+J in Cronulla.

Director Stephen Wallace says this production will confront audiences with palpable tensions between two different ways of life and the intense misunderstanding between two groups of teenagers.

Re-imagined as an Anglo-Lebanese gang war, the Australian flag becomes not just a standard, but a provocation for Shakespeare’s famed warring houses.

The young cast features Dan Webber and Rainee Lyleson in the title roles, as well as Lyelson’s own mother Lisa Peers as the Nurse. Byron Hajduczok is Mercutio, Rob Baird is Benvolio, Alex Bryant-Smith is Tybalt, Adam Hatzimanolis is Capulet, Aimee Moffatt-Foster is Lady Capulet, Martin Searles is Friar Lawrence and Montague, Jace Pickard is Paris, and Alan Faulkner is The Prince.

Design is by Alan Walpole with costumes by Tanya Woodland.

Performances commence on 31 July at the King Street Theatre in Newtown. For tickets and more information, please visit


Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

One thought on “Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in the heart of Cronulla’s race riots in new R+J

  • typo with the second Lyleson.

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