Venus and Adonis

AAR-SFJ-Venus-and-AdonisFollowing its critically acclaimed cinematic debut in 2020, Sport for Jove and Seymour Centre are thrilled to present the world premiere of Damien Ryan’s new play, Venus and Adonis, reframing the extraordinary vision of Shakespeare’s most important work of poetry, at the Seymour Centre from 29 September 2023.

It’s 1593. The plague has hit London. Theatres are closed, players out of work, houses bolted, people terrified by the touch of another’s skin, the breath of another’s air.

Shakespeare, syphilitic and dangerously bored, publishes a scandalous response to the pestilence – an epic work about the very things lost to us, like intimacy, identity, and the erotic freedom of touch.

The brainchild of writer and director Damien Ryan (Managing Director & Artistic Director of Sport for Jove), Venus and Adonis “bends history” (The Sydney Morning Herald) and follows the story of Shakespeare’s most significant rival and rumoured mistress, Aemilia Lanyer.

Cast as a “libidinous Venus” in Ryan’s play within a play, Lanyer’s tale is a masterful work about the need to love, the right to speak, and the power of the printed word.

“We are endlessly excited to finally bring our passionate work on this story to the stage. Covid nipped it cruelly in the bud in 2020 and these wonderful artists helped us pivot to a cinematic approach, both to create work at such a debilitating time and to give a story we so deeply cared about a home,” said Director Damien Ryan.

“But it belongs to the stage, and we are so thrilled to finally regather the team and stage the work at our beloved home, the Seymour Centre. There is a lot of excitement about the show and we are so grateful and overwhelmed by the support we have received in getting it up. We can’t wait to get to work.”

Sport for Jove’s (SFJ) production features an all-star cast including Anthony Gooley (Ensemble Theatre’s The Caretaker), Adele Querol (SFJ’s Othello), Jerome Meyer (New Theatricals’ Darkness), Belinda Giblin (Belvoir’s The Weekend), Bernadette Ryan (SFJ’s Rose Riot), Christopher Tomkinson (Leg’s on the Wall’s Holding Achilles), Ava Madon (Hayes Theatres’ The Lucky Country), Kevin MacIsaac (Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet) and Dinitha Senevirathne (ABC’s The PM’s Daughter).

Venus and Adonis
Reginald Theatre – Seymour Centre, Corner City Road and Cleveland Street, Chippendale (Sydney)
Season: 4 – 21 October 2023 (previews: 29 September – 3 October)
Information and Bookings:

Image: Venus and Adonis – photo by Andre Vasquez & Sean Dowling