|Peter Evans (Artistic Director), Gill Perkins (Executive Director)|
|Products||Theatre Productions, Learning Programs|
The Bell Shakespeare vision is to create theatre that allows audiences of all walks of life to see themselves reflected and transformed through the prism of great writing. They are Australia's only national theatre company. Each year they perform a Mainstage season consisting of three theatre productions, including an annual National Tour, and a Learning program to support students, teachers and communities nationally. Bell Shakespeare's Artistic Director is Peter Evans and the Executive Director is Gill Perkins.
Founded by John Bell in 1990, Bell Shakespeare began as a theatre company dedicated to producing the plays of William Shakespeare in a way that was relevant and exciting to Australian audiences. With the support of an enlightened philanthropist, the late Tony Gilbert AM, and a small number of imaginative corporate and private supporters, Bell Shakespeare was able to mount productions and attract audiences.
Now 30 years later, Bell Shakespeare enjoys the fruits of its labour: a history rich with legends of the stage; the establishment of a creative development arm, which ensures its artistic vibrancy; theatre, education and community programs characterised by unrivalled national reach and impact; and a loyal and passionate audience that has made the Company that began in a circus tent into a national icon.
Bell Shakespeare is listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World.
In 2016, the Australian Federal Government announced a $1 million contribution to the Bell Shakespeare capital campaign, which will help the Company secure a permanent home at Sydney's Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay.
In 2012, John Bell announced the promotion of associate artistic director Peter Evans to the position of co-artistic director. In 2015, John Bell retired from the Company, and Peter Evans was made sole Artistic Director.
Since its foundation, Bell Shakespeare has had one unchangeable vision – to make Shakespeare accessible for all Australians, regardless of age, geographic location, or socioeconomic challenges.
Bell Shakespeare continues this vision with a range of learning opportunities for students and teachers in every Australian state and territory throughout the year. This includes in-school performances by The Players. Inspired by the troupe of actors who appear in Hamlet, Bell Shakespeare's Players have been performing abridged adaptions of Shakespeare's works in schools since 1991. A number of tailored workshops, masterclasses and residencies are also available to make Shakespeare accessible to students in an immersive and fun way. Each year, the company creates a theatre production specifically for students. Bell Shakespeare also provides professional learning for teachers.
A range of scholarships to support students and teachers are also provided. This includes the John Bell Scholarship, which provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students living in regional or remote areas who are interested in a career as a performer, and the regional teacher mentorship which is a fully funded year-long mentorship for teachers in regional, rural and remote Australian schools.
- Hamlet (2015), directed by Damien Ryan and starring Josh McConville.
- Romeo and Juliet (2016), directed by Peter Evans and starring Kelly Paterniti and Alex Williams.
- Othello (2016), directed by Peter Evans and starring Ray Chong Nee and Yalin Ozucelik.
- The Literati (2016), directed by Lee Lewis and starring Kate Mulvany and Miranda Tapsell.
- Richard 3 (2017), directed by Peter Evans and starring Kate Mulvany.
- The Merchant Of Venice (2017), directed by Anne-Louise Sarks and starring Mitchell Butel and Jessica Tovey.
- Antony and Cleopatra (2018), directed by Peter Evans and starring Catherine McClements.
- Julius Caesar (2018), directed by James Evans and starring Kenneth Ransom.
- The Misanthrope (2018), directed by Lee Lewis and starring Danielle Cormack.
- The Miser (2019), directed by Peter Evans and starring John Bell.
- Much Ado About Nothing (2019), directed by James Evans and starring Zindzi Okenyo.
- Titus Andronicus (2019), directed by Adena Jacobs and starring Jane Montgomery Griffiths and Melita Jurisic.
- Hamlet (2020), directed by Peter Evans and starring Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Lisa McCune.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (2021), directed by Peter Evans and starring Jane Montgomery Griffiths and Gabrielle Scawthorn.
- The Lovers (2022), Bell Shakespeare's first musical, based on A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Shaun Rennie.
Production history by playEdit
List of Bell Shakespeare productions (not including Learning productions or special events):
- Antony and Cleopatra (2001, 2018)
- As You Like It (2003, 2018, 2015)
- The Comedy of Errors (2002, 2013)
- Coriolanus (1996)
- Hamlet (1991, 2003, 2008, 2015, 2020)
- Henry IV (1988, 2013)
- Henry V (1999, 2014)
- Julius Caesar (2001, 2011, 2018)
- King Lear (1998, 2010)
- Macbeth (1994, 1997, 2007, 2012, 2023)
- Measure for Measure (2005)
- The Merchant of Venice (1991, 1999, 2006, 2017)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (2000, 2004, 2014, 2021)
- Much Ado About Nothing (1996, 2000, 2011, 2018)
- Othello (2007, 2016)
- Pericles (1995, 2009)
- Richard III (1992, 2002, 2017)
- Romeo and Juliet (1993, 1999, 2006, 2016, 2023)
- The Taming of the Shrew (1994, 2002, 2009)
- The Tempest (1997, 2001, 2006, 2015)
- Titus Andronicus (2019)
- Troilus and Cressida (2000)
- Twelfth Night (1995, 2004, 2010, 2023)
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona (2005)
- Wars of the Roses [Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, Henry VI, Part 3] (2005)
- The Winter's Tale (1997, 2014)
- Venus and Adonis (2008)
- Long Day's Journey into Night (1999)
- Dance of Death (2000)
- Shakespeare's R & J (2001)
- The Servant of Two Masters (2003)
- Moby Dick (2005)
- The Government Inspector (2007)
- Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome: A Shakespeare Commentary (2008)
- The Alchemist (2009)
- Faustus (2011)
- The Duchess of Malfi (2012)
- The School for Wives (2012)
- Phèdre (2013)
- Tartuffe (2014)
- The Literati (2016)
- The Misanthrope (2018)
- The Miser (2019)
- The Lovers (2022), based on A Midsummer Night's Dream
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- "Artistic Director – Bell Shakespeare". Bell Shakespeare. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- In-school performances, bellshakespeare.com.au
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