Much Ado About Nothing Rehearsal. Zindzi Okenyo, Vivienne Awosoga, Suzanne Pereira. Photo: Prudence Upton.
News, Performing arts, Theatre

WIN a double pass to Bell Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

We have two double passes to give away to see Bell Shakespeare’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, on August 8, at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

Directed by Bell Shakespeare’s Associate Director, James Evans (Julius Caesar) and starring Zindzi Okenyo (Antony and Cleopatra, MTC’s An Ideal Husband) as Beatrice, this Much Ado About Nothing will be a powerful exploration of the struggle for identity and self-knowledge in a male-dominated world. The pursuit of love is framed in a social context that enhances the darker themes in this timeless comic gem.

“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” Act 5, Scene 2

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s contemporary comedies where romance is thwarted by dastardly plots, misinformation, false accusations, broken promises, and bumbling cops. Or is it?

To be in the running to win one of two double passes to see Much Ado About Nothing, 7.30pm, August 8, at the State Theatre Centre of WA, simply email with “Much Ado giveaway” in the subject line and your name and phone number in the body of the email.

Limit of one entry per person.

Deadline for entries: C.O.B Monday 29 July. Winners will be notified by email Tuesday 30 July.

Much Ado About Nothing plays the State Theatre Centre of WA, August 7-10.

Pictured top: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ rehearsal. Zindzi Okenyo, Vivienne Awosoga, Suzanne Pereira. Photo: Prudence Upton.

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Two ladies dressed in costume for a play
Calendar, March 19, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: The Merchant of Venice

7 – 16 March @ New Fortune Theatre, University of WA ·
Presented by Graduate Dramatic Society ·

A contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is sure to resonate with modern audiences, in the light of today’s far-right extremist groups and recent anti-Semitic attacks. Presented by the Graduate Dramatic Society at UWA’s New Fortune Theatre, this version is set in 1938 and directed by Lucy Eyre.

The story follows Portia, heiress to a large fortune and forced into marriage by an unorthodox method, stipulated by her late father. This attracts suitors from all over the world, which sets in motion a fateful transaction. Merchant Antonio must default on a large loan from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender  he abused and, in turn, the vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment. The demand tests the laws of Venice at a time when the rise of fascism in Europe threatens to quash the Venetians’ bohemian lifestyle, while strengthening anti-Semitic attitudes.

“If I’m going to direct a play, I have to be passionate about its themes,” Eyre, who has a PhD in performing  in relation to understanding why people are racist or why they discriminate against others. The Merchant of Venice is known for the Jewish character Shylock and the play mentions the history of anti-Semitic insults and abuse he’s experienced in Venice. Various incidents occur during the play that accumulate and compel Shylock to seek revenge. Shakespeare has written some wonderful plays that deal with important, timeless issues – I directed Othello for the Hills Shakespeare Festival in 2014 for similar reasons, although the plays are very different.”

First performing in the UK, Eyre has been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and, after moving to WA, made her debut with Playlovers in The Pirates of Penzance in 1993 and went on to appear in numerous productions at KADS Theatre.

In recent years, she has performed at the Dolphin and Marloo Theatres, Kidogo Arthouse and Koorliny Arts Centre  in All My Sons, Gypsy, Never Give All of the Heart and Stepping Out. As a director, Eyre has several credits  including shows at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Blue Room and Regal Theatres. In 2004, she wrote her first full-length play Conundrum, then Three On, One Off which was nominated for best new play at  the 2010 Equity Awards. Eyre was also co-writer and co-performer in the cabaret Chicks and Flicks for a Downstairs at the Maj season.

“Each play has its own challenges, including the logistics of getting up to 20 people in the same room,” she said. “My main aim with The Merchant of Venice is to create a production that will resonate with audiences in 2019,  even though it’s set in 1938. With the rise of far-right extremist groups and recent anti-Semitic attacks in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world, The Merchant of Venice is still relevant andimportant.”

The Merchant of Venice plays at 7.30pm March 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16. Tickets are $35, $25 concession.  Book at or call 6488 2440 between 12pm and 4pm weekdays.

Please note: the play contains adult themes and anti-Semitic language and is recommended for ages 12 and up.

The New Fortune Theatre is located at the University of WA, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley.

More info:

Pictured: Melissa Merchant, left, as Nerissa is a loyal friend to Portia (Grace Edwards).
Photo credit: Myles Wright, costumes: Merri Ford

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Romeo and Juliet
Calendar, October 18, Performing arts, September 18, Theatre

Theatre: Romeo and Juliet

27 Sep – 13 Oct @ Limelight Theatre ·
Presented by Limelight Theatre ·

TWO star-crossed lovers come together despite constant opposition from their warring families in Limelight Theatre’s latest production, described as “the greatest love story ever told”.

Directed by Peter Clark, Romeo and Juliet was first performed 424 years ago and is one of the most popular Shakespeare plays performed today – but it’s the first time Shakespeare has been performed at Limelight Theatre in its 45-year history.

Street brawls, a masquerade, hope and the best laid schemes of the well-intentioned lead to an inevitable and tragic conclusion in the immortal love story. Clark said he had gone for a contemporary take on the Shakespeare classic.

“This is to ensure the production is easily accessible for the audience – for both first-time Shakespeareans and the experienced – so they have the ability to relate and feel for the characters as the story unfolds,” he said  “Our production designer has designed and produced a wonderful set and staging for the show. The overall look and feel of the production is also assisted with very specific lighting effects, music, film and costume. I was trained to believe that Shakespeare was written for all and should never be perceived as boring or dated – my approach to this production provides all the necessary ingredients to ensure it is not.  It’s a two-hour production that packs a punch without losing the core integrity of the script and central themes around love.”

Romeo and Juliet plays at 8pm September 27, 28, 29, October 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13 with a 2pm matinee October 7. Tickets are $21, $18 concession – book at or on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday.
Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

More info:

Callum O’Mara and Lauren Thomas play the title roles in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Peter Clark

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