BELL Shakespeare has today announced its 2014 season, with a couple of departures from the world of the Bard, but Canberrans won’t see the cream of the crop.
First cab off the rank will be a new production, exclusive to Sydney, by Bell Shakespeare’s founder and co-artistic director, John Bell, of Shakespeare’s rarely performed late play, “The Winter’s Tale,” to be told through the eyes of Mamillius, the child prince.Although the company boasts of adding a fourth main-stage show to the program, some of that will be exclusive to Sydney. After what Bell describes as a big success with Moliere’s “The School for Wives” they’ll be following this year with a production of “Tartuffe” by the same playwright, often described as “the French Shakespeare” in the uproarious translation/adaptation by Justin Fleming and staged by co-artistic director Peter Evans, but that won’t tour away from Sydney.
A new venture is a behind-the-scenes access and online dialogue for students.
Damien Ryan, who assisted Bell on the production of “Henry 4” this year, directs his first main-stage production for Bell Shakespeare with “Henry V”, a contemporary slant on the history play that was inspired by the true story of a group of boys who rehearsed plays in a bunker during the Blitz in 1941. That production will tour to Canberra during June.
For the first time in over 10 years, the company will present a new version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Called simply “The Dream”, this “family-friendly” show will be directed by Peter Evans. This production will appear in Canberra during August.
Under ‘Bell Shakespeare Learning’, there’ll be a new schools production of The Scottish Play, new digital workshops, the third and final year of a residency with refugee and migrant students, juvenile justice programs in male and female centres and its schools tour, Actors At Work, taking Shakespeare to both primary and secondary school students around the country.
Bell Shakespeare and the Australian Chamber Orchestra will come together as they did last year to tour Janáček’s final composition, the string quartet “Intimate Letters”, arranged for string orchestra, under the direction of London Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Gordan Nikolic and Evans. That will be seen in a one-off performance at Llewellyn Hall during August.
Moving outside the mainstream as part of the company’s developmental arm, “Mind’s Eye”, writers Caleb Lewis (“Sleep With Me”), Jane Bodie (“Savage”), Luke Mullins and Lachlan Philpott (“Lake Disappointment”), Sue Smith (“Lear”) and Rita Kalnejais (“Fidelity”) will be supported as they fine-tune their new plays.
Bell Shakespeare 2014 season, for details visit bellshakespeare.com.au