Heartstring Coriolanus Elisa Armstrong photo by CK ReasonsFeaturing an all female cast in their inaugural season, Heartstring boldly marches into the Melbourne independent theatre scene with their ambitious take on Shakespeare’s bloody tale of power and pride, Coriolanus – at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute from 28 April 2016.

Shakespeare’s dynamic tale of Coriolanus takes us into a world where the Volscian Army marches on Rome, only for the warrior Coriolanus to drive them back. As the dust settles, though, she finds herself pressured into the snake pit that is political office. With famine threatening and jealous tribunes plotting against her, Coriolanus discovers that the will of people cannot be so easily beaten back with swords…

Heartstring have emerged with the intent of creating thought provoking work, while actively addressing the shortage of roles for female actors on our stages. Company member and co-founder Elisa Armstrong explains, “We believe that women have been underrepre-sented on stage since Thespis first stepped out of the Chorus.”

“The talented female actors of Melbourne have been designated roles of shrieking harpy and mute girlfriend for far too long. At Heartstring we aim to present all the facets of women by always having more than 50% of the roles being played by women.”

“Shakespeare is open to interpretation. His work is never presented exactly as it was done in the 17th century and by casting women we aim to bring a new relevance to his words, and show women in a multidimensional light. If women can play any male Shakespearean character, the canon for roles available has suddenly become much wider.”

Company member and co-founder Jo Booth adds, “Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s most masculine plays, and we’re exploring how women take on these qualities; rage, vulnerability, ferocity, and present them to a 2016 audience.”

This new telling of one of Shakespeare’s last tragedies takes a hyper-masculine world full of betrayal and deceit, and flips it on its head. It’s a compelling reimagining, not to be missed.

Director: Grant Watson Featuring: Elisa Armstrong, Joanne Booth, Catherine Glavicic, Janet Watson Kruse, Sonia Marcon, Alys Daroy, Sarah Nicolazzo, Tammy Weller, Ingrid Taylor-Moss, Jessica Tanner Set and Costume Design: Laura Pearse Lighting Design: Kris Chainey Sound Design: Ben Keene Stage Manager Amber Bock

Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Season: 28 April – 8 May 2016 (preview: 27 April)
Bookings:  (03) 9387 3376 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Elisa Armstrong – photo by C.K. Reasons