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Listen: The joy and the intrigue behind Shakespeare in the Park

After a disastrous 2020 Shoreside Theatre brings back Shakespeare in the Park for its 25th year. In this interview with Andrew Whiteside, directors James Bell (Hamlet), and Jason Moffatt (Much Ado About Nothing) share their love of theatre and how their community helped resurrect the theatre company.

Shakespeare in the Park 2021

Hamlet & Much Ado About Nothing

January 23 – February 20, 2021

More information about the season from the Publicist:

After the most challenging year in the organisation’s 45-year history, Shoreside Theatreare delighted to welcome in 2021 with a significant milestone – celebrating the 25th season of Shakespeare in the Park with the tragedy Hamlet and comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Running January 23 – February 20, 2021, the two Shakespearean favourites will play on alternating nights in Takapuna’s lakeside paradise – the Outdoor Amphitheatre at The PumpHouse. 

To celebrate the landmark season, Shoreside Theatre are offering free tickets to children under 15 to inspire and encourage Shakespeare fans of the future to keep coming to live theatre. Shakespeare in the Park has welcomed many legacy fans over the years, with audiences returning year after year to step back in time with these spectacular productions. The true to original text and period performances of the classics are complete with lavish custom Elizabethan costume, performed as the sun goes down across the stunning Lake Pupuke. 

The new season is made even sweeter for lovers of the Jacobean master as Shoreside Theatre is now presenting the only outdoor Shakespeare productions in the city, despite a tumultuous year. Established in 1976, the company were teetering on the brink of collapse after $60,000 was fraudulently stolen from their bank account, and then were forced to cancel their usually profitable Agatha Christie season as a result of COVID-19. Saved by the generosity of their passionate membership, the company was resurrected and will make a magnificent return to the stage to celebrate the blissful evenings of a Kiwi summer in 2021. 

Shakespeare in the Park is the perfect opportunity for lovers of Shakespeare – both creatives and audiences alike – to revel in the works of theatre’s greatest writer. An annual staple of summer, Shakespeare in the Park is presented by a company of almost 100 passionate people with the aspiration to stage real Shakespeare under the stars. Volunteering their time out of passion, many of the creatives involved are professionals, with notable past actors including Benjamin Mitchell (Shortland Street’s TK Samuels), James Napier Robertson (The Dark Horse), and Chye-Ling Huang (Shortland Street, Proudly Asian Theatre). The cast for the 2021 season will be announced on the Shoreside Theatre website.

Hamlet – Directed by James Bell

Indecision, revenge and retribution, deception, ambition, loyalty, and fate lie at the core of arguably Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has multiple woes. The ghost of his father haunts Elsinore; his uncle, Claudius, has married Queen Gertrude, his mother, and assumed the throne; and Fortinbras of Norway threatens Denmark with an invading army.

Hamlet’s complexity, philosophical richness, the unforgettable language and imagery of Hamlet’s soliloquies offers an incomparable portrait of a brilliant but tortured Renaissance scholar whose world has been destroyed.

Much Ado About Nothing – Directed by Jason Moffatt

Love, verbal-sparring, villainous schemes and mistaken identity are delightfully interwoven in Much Ado About Nothing, which brings us the unforgettable romance of Beatrice and Benedick, surely Shakespeare’s best loved romantic duo.

Returning from the wars, Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon, and his retinue arrive at the home of Leonato, the governor of Messina. Amongst Don Pedro’s companions are Benedick, a sworn bachelor, and Claudio, a young nobleman smitten with Leonato’s daughter, Hero. Love and masquerade, wit and warfare, perception and reality – all collide in one of Shakespeare’s cherished comedies.

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