Bell Shakespeare, Australia’s national theatre company dedicated to the sharing the plays of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries with Australian audiences, has unveiled it’s 2016 program, the first under the sole Artistic Directorship of Peter Evans.
“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with one of the greatest Shakespearean minds as Co-Artistic Director for the last 4 years; John Bell. As founder of Bell Shakespeare his legacy is a tribute to performance of classical texts in Australia,” said Peter Evans.
“It’s with much anticipation that I take up the mantle of Artistic Director for Bell Shakespeare, and all that entails. I look forward to taking audiences of all ages, from all corners of Australia on a journey through Shakespeare’s timeless world with us.”
The 2016 program will feature a collection of plays that delve into love, despair and the foibles of humanity. Romeo And Juliet will open the year, exploring the violence and heart ache in the legendary tale of the star-crossed lovers set against a once lavish city. Kelly Paterniti returns to Bell Shakespeare after 2015’s As You Like It as the wide-eyed ingénue Juliet, paired with Alex Williams (Underground: The Julian Assange Story, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart) in the role of Romeo.
Ten years after penning Romeo And Juliet, Shakespeare wrote Othello, a starkly contrasting play that explores the destructive power of jealousy and whispered rumours. Othello is a journey of malicious passion, fuelled by one of Shakespeare’s ultimate villains, the conniving Iago.
Starring Ray Chong Nee as Othello (Bell Shakespeare’s The Dream and MTC’s I Call My Brothers) and Yalin Ozucelik as Iago (Bell Shakespeare’s Henry IV and STC’s Cyrano de Bergerac), in one of Shakespeare’s most captivating pairings, this epic tragedy will rage across Australia for Bell Shakespeare’s 2016 National Tour.
After the unbridled fun of 2014’s hilarious and critically acclaimed production of Tartuffe, Bell Shakespeare will return to the work of Molière – France’s answer to Shakespeare. In a new partnership, Griffin Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare will present The Literati – a new translation of La Femme Savants by Justin Fleming.
Directed by Griffin’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis and featuring Bell Shakespeare’s Writing Fellow and frequent collaborator, Kate Mulvany (Tartuffe and Julius Caesar) The Literati will see the text brought screaming into the 21st century with its cutting satire of the high-brow elite.
Romeo And Juliet and Othello will be accompanied by a free In Conversation with the director hosting a number of the cast and creative team, offering audiences a peek behind the curtain for unique and illuminating insights on the productions.
2016 will also herald a renewed commitment to Bell Shakespeare’s learning programmes, bringing the works to students in classrooms and theatres across the country. A new team of eight actors will tour the country in the 10 month Actors At Work tour taking 50-minute adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays to students in every state, including regional and remote communities.
Students in Sydney, Melbourne and, for the first time Perth, will have the opportunity to visit their city’s premier theatres for a restaging of the 2013 and 2014 success, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by James Evans.
2016 Season Packages are now on sale. For more information and performance schedule, visit: www.bellshakespeare.com.au for details.
Image: Ray Chong Nee and Yalin Ozucelik will feature in Othello (supplied)