The Shadow King off to London

Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre will be taking its landmark production The Shadow King to London’s Barbican Centre in 2016.

The Shadow King reimagines Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy King Lear as a blood-soaked tale of two Indigenous families in northern Australia. It is performed in English, Kriol and the actors’ own Indigenous Australian languages.

The Barbican will present 12 performances of the show, from 22 June – 2 July 2016, as part of a program marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The Melbourne-made production is expected to be seen by 10,000 people.

In making the announcement, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said “This London season of The Shadow King will again display Victoria’s creative talent, ideas and product in one of the biggest theatre markets in the world. It will showcase a Victorian Indigenous production internationally and lay the groundwork for future projects.”

“The Malthouse Theatre is one of Australia’s most innovative and creative theatre companies, producing ambitious, exciting and diverse work. It has a growing reputation overseas and last year toured a production to prominent international arts festivals in China.”

In London this week, Mr Foley met with the Barbican’s Head of Theatre, Toni Racklin, to discuss the production and future opportunities for Victoria’s arts sector. The Victorian Government will provide funding of $50,000 to support the award-winning production’s international premiere next year.

The Barbican is one of the UK’s most prestigious arts venues and is the largest multi-arts and conference venue in Europe. It presents a diverse array of art, music, theatre, dance, film and creative learning events. It is also home to the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

“This tour is an invaluable opportunity for Malthouse Theatre to showcase our artists to international audiences, and forms part of Malthouse Theatre’s strategy for international engagement,” said Sarah Neal, Executive Producer and Co-CEO of the Malthouse Theatre. “It is a major undertaking and one that we could not achieve without our government and philanthropic partners.”

The Malthouse Theatre’s tour of The Shadow King to London will also supported by the Australia Council and the Wheeler Foundation. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Tom E Lewis in The Shadow King – photo by Jeff Busby