Bell Shakespeare announces 2015 Season

BS_Matilda and JoshCelebrating its 25th anniversary and the incredible success of becoming firmly established as Australia’s only truly national theatre company dedicated to William Shakespeare, and his peers, Bell Shakespeare has announced its 2015 Season.

An irresistible array of sublime works that showcase Shakespeare’s genius and infinite variety, the season includes three epic productions, As You Like It, Hamlet and The Tempest, a renewed Public Programme, a new collaboration with The Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Simone Young, The Art Of Shakespeare exhibition, its first Photographer in Residence, continued dedication to Shakespeare in Education, including a new mainstage schools show of Romeo And Juliet, and new inspired writing and dramaturgy with its Mind’s Eye programme.

The year begins with As You Like It, directed by Bell Shakespeare’s Co-Artistic Director Peter Evans, fresh from a stellar year (Tartuffe, The Dream, Intimate Letters) with a cast led by the exuberant Zahra Newman (Malthouse and Belvoir’s The Government Inspector). John Bell is taking on the melancholy role of Jaques and one of Shakespeare’s most famous passages; ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’

Damien Ryan, off the back of directing the critically acclaimed Henry V for Bell Shakespeare in 2014, will deliver a new production of Hamlet, infused with the passion, contemplation and emotion that Shakespeare’s compelling poetry cries out for. Josh McConville (Sydney Theatre Company’s Mojo) and Matilda Ridgway (Sport For Jove’s A Doll’s House) will delve into the complexity, violence, philosophical reflection, madness and maddening seduction of this epic play.

Rounding off the season, John Bell, having performed in The Tempest three times, will for the first time direct this enchanting tale. A superb cast led by Brian Lipson (Melbourne Theatre Company’s The Crucible), along with Julie Lynch’s design, will capture the lightness and beauty of one of Shakespeare’s last and greatest works.

The renewed Public Programme includes Script To Stage, which is a directors presentation aligned with As You Like It and The Tempest. In Conversation will be a series of talks with John Bell, ranging from the influence of Shakespeare on contemporary culture, to the history and impact of Australian theatre. Details about these Programmes will be announced later in 2014.

In an exciting new collaboration, Bell Shakespeare will share the stage with the distinguished The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, presenting a new arrangement of words and music. Bell Shakespeare’s Co-Artistic Director, John Bell, will direct excerpts from the play, Romeo And Juliet, as renowned conductor Simone Young weaves music from Prokofiev’s thrilling ballet score through the performance.

The Art Of Shakespeare will see up to a dozen renowned visual artists create artworks inspired by the works of William Shakespeare, celebrating 25 years of Bell Shakespeare. These artworks will be exhibited nationally and available for sale.

For the first time, Bell Shakespeare will host a Photographer in Residence, offering them a unique opportunity to document the 25th year, get behind the scenes access to rehearsals, pre/post performances, and an opportunity to photograph some of the incredible artists involved in next year’s season. Applications will open later in 2014.

The company’s Learning programme continues its impactful work in 2015, including a new mainstage schools show of Romeo And Juliet, directed by James Evans with new social media ‘Behind The Balcony’ access and a new Actors At Work show for Years 3–6 titled Just Macbeth! (Abridged).

In 2014, the Company’s development arm, Mind’s Eye, sees a continued focus on new writing and dramaturgy with some cross art-form ideas being realised throughout the year. Justin Fleming will work on an adaptation of another of Molière’s plays, Kate Mulvany will work dramaturgically on one of Shakespeare’s history plays, and a suite of new work that commenced in 2013 and 2014 will continue to be shaped by the artists involved.

The year will culminate with an exclusive 25th Anniversary Gala on Friday 27 November 2015, celebrating the achievements and impact of Bell Shakespeare over the last 25 years. Held in conjunction with the Sydney season of Hamlet, individual tickets and tables of 10 will be available to purchase from mid-2015.

Bell Shakespeare has played to nearly 2.5 million Australians. An incredible achievement for an Australian theatre company whose mission has remained as strong as it was on that first day back in 1990; ‘keeping the classics alive, make them our own and share them with our fellow Australians, wherever they might be on this vast continent.’ says John Bell, Co-Artistic Director.

For more information, visit: www.bellshakespeare.com.au for details.

Image: Matilda Ridgway and Josh McConville – courtesy of Bell Shakespeare

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