Melbourne Shakespeare Company is celebrating its fifth anniversary with the launch of the first annual Stonnington Shakespeare Festival in March 2021. Launching on Saturday 6 March in Central Park, Malvern, a brand new musical production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale will headline the festivities.
Melbourne Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Jennifer Sarah Dean (London’s Globe Theatre) said after ten sellout seasons, this production promises to be our most exciting adaptation yet. “The Winter’s Tale smashes all the rules that we have come to expect from a traditional drama,” said Ms Dean.
“Unity of time, place and action are hurled aside as we range across the world, from court to country, high tragedy to low comedy, across a time span of sixteen years. This exciting new production will keep audiences young and old on the edge of their seats with its dynamic combination of music, drama and comedy.”
The show offers new delights with a 1940’s jazz trio cleverly integrating contemporary pop music into this classic text. Musical Director Natalie Calia (Ich War Noch Niemals) embraces a broad range of classic hits from Ed Sheeran to Tom Jones to bring the story to life.
Set design from Hayley James (The Taming of the Shrew) transports us to the contrasting worlds of Sicilia and Bohemia and the military inspired costume design from Aislinn Naughton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) takes the viewer to a world where fighting and sorrow is replaced by hope and new beginnings.
Shakespeare virtuoso David Meadows (Macbeth, Richard 3) takes on the leading role of Leontes, while Musical Theatre icon Anton Berezon (Cats, Wicked) joins the company for the first time as Leontes’ former friend and now bitter rival Polixenes. Audience favourite Tref Gare (Bright Star) will return for his fifth season as the Shepherd supported by the comedy antics of Caleb Whiticker (Grease, West Side Story) and Emma Austin (Into the woods, As You Like It).
Melbourne Shakespeare Company is conscious of its environmental impact and is proud to use fully reclaimed, reused, and recycled costumes and sets in all their productions. This initiative has been spearheaded by sustainability champion, Rhiannon Irving (Australian Ballet) and continues to drive the company’s ethos and practices.
The Winter’s Tale is family-friendly production and audiences are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy in the sunshine. Seating is not provided at the venue, and protective sun wear is recommended for matinee performances.
Director: Jennifer Sarah Dean Featuring: Emma Austin, Jessica Barton, Anton Berezin, Adam Canny, Andrew Dang, Tref Gare, Melanie Gleeson, May Jasper, Erin McIntosh, David Meadows, Jackson Peele, Elizabeth Slattery, Bridget Sweeney, Caleb Whittaker Musical Director: Natalie Calia Choreographer: John Reed Costume Designer: Aislinn Naughton Set Designer: Hayley James Stage Manager: Kate Weston Producer: Michael Mack
The Winter’s Tale
Central Park, 148 Burke Road, Malvern East
Season: 6 – 20 March 2021
Information and Bookings: www.melbourneshakespeare.com
Image: The Winter’s Tale – courtesy of Melbourne Shakespeare Company