Bell Shakespeare has announced its 2023 season, with three new productions touring throughout the country. To mark 2023 as the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the company will stage new contemporary retellings of plays from the Folio, Macbeth and Twelfth Night – the latter featuring all new music by Sarah Blasko.
The company will also stage a raw and intimate performance of Romeo and Juliet in the company’s new theatre The Neilson Nutshell and at the Fairfax Studio at Arts Centre Melbourne.
“Next year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, without which we wouldn’t have some of Shakespeare’s most-loved plays, including Macbeth and Twelfth Night,” said Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director, Peter Evans.
“It felt like the right time to restage these blockbuster works, starting with Macbeth which we’ve set in the moody 1920s with the fantastic Hazem Shammas and Jessica Tovey, and our good friend Heather Fairbairn will direct our national tour of Twelfth Night, collaborating with Sarah Blasko on the musical score.
“To showcase our new theatre The Neilson Nutshell at Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, I’ve conceived a stripped back version of Romeo and Juliet, that focuses on the beauty of the text and stars Rose Riley and Jacob Warner who I worked with on Hamlet earlier this year.”
“The show will transfer beautifully to the Fairfax Studio in Melbourne. We can’t wait to welcome our audiences into the theatre and are looking forward to a year of Shakespeare’s greatest hits!” said Evans.
Opening the season at the Sydney Opera House from 1 March – 2 April, Shakespeare’s most haunting thriller Macbeth will take audiences back to the bleak 1920s post World War 1. Logie Award winning actor Hazem Shammas, known for his work on TVs Safe Harbour and The Twelve, stars as the murderous Macbeth, alongside Jessica Tovey as Lady Macbeth.
Directed by Artistic Director Peter Evans, the production is a terrifying portrayal of moral collapse and an intense and compelling journey into the dark heart of humanity. The production will also tour to Canberra Theatre Centre from 15 – 22 April, and Arts Centre Melbourne from 28 April – 14 May.
Bell Shakespeare’s national tour for 2023 is Twelfth Night, directed by Heather Fairbairn, who has also worked internationally with companies including the Royal Opera House and the Royal Court Theatre in London.
This fresh retelling of the romantic comedy will feature music by Aria Award winner Sarah Blasko in a collision of hidden identities and unrequited love, that ultimately asks us to find light in the darkness. The production will travel to 25 venues across the country, including Canberra Theatre Centre from 13 – 21 October and Sydney Opera House from 26 October – 19 November.
Romeo and Juliet
Artistic Director Peter Evans’ beautifully intimate new production of Romeo and Juliet will be presented at The Neilson Nutshell at Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay Arts Precinct from 28 June – 27 August, with a two-week season at the Arts Centre Melbourne in the middle, from 14 – 29 July.
Starring Rose Riley and Jacob Warner, this passionate portrayal of the star-crossed lovers will bring audiences closer than ever before to the intensity and the heartbreak of Shakespeare’s most evocative tragedy.
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 will include A Celebration of the First Folio, lively script reading series, Play In A Day featuring Timon of Athens and The Spanish Tragedy, and the ever-popular Sonnets & Semillon.
For more information about Bell Shakespeare’s 2023 Season, visit: www.bellshakespeare.com.au for details.
Image: Jane Montgomery Griffiths to star as Malvolia in Twelfth Night (supplied)