Melbourne bound…

The Hamlet Seminar in Sydney this week

While you are all on school holidays, The Players are busy at Bell HQ in Sydney this week, working with our Artistic Director John Bell and Associate Artistic Director Peter Evans, in the rehearsal room on some exciting (but secret!) projects.

On Monday we presented The Hamlet Seminar for HSC students at The Seymour Centre’s York Theatre. Our Resident Artist in Education James Evans presented the seminar while The Players acted out key scenes in various ways to show how different interpretations can be, how a director and actors can completely change intentions behind Shakespeare’s words to create new meaning.

On Saturday we’ll head to Melbourne to present The Hamlet Seminar for VCE students at The National Theatre in St Kilda. It’s the first year we’ve presented the seminar in Melbourne and we can’t wait.

Next up in August we’ll be bringing our production of Romeo And Juliet to The National Theatre along with our six tonnes of sand that line the stage. Where has it been hiding since we last performed the show in March? Hmmm… it’s a mystery. 🙂

But it’s not all for students. Your teachers can also take part in some of our special events. We’ll be holding a special launch to celebrate our Melbourne season of Romeo And Juliet at the beautiful Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on Wednesday 20 July from 5pm. To book your place email us today at learning@bellshakespeare.com.au

Finally, teachers who want to skill up or learn some new tools for the classroom can come along to our Melbourne Teacher Forum: Shakespeare in the National Curriculum on Saturday 30 July, 10am – 4pm.

So Melbourne students and teachers – we’re on our way! We can’t wait to meet you all and work with you at these special events. Remember, if you want to know more, check out our website, send us an email at learning@bellshakespeare.com.au or give us a call on 1300 305 730.

Love the Bell Shakespeare Learning team!


Some Midsummer feedback – in iambic pentameter!

We recently performed Midsummer Madness at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney and received some feedback in – wait for it – iambic pentameter! Thanks girls. 🙂

Here’s a small selection of some favourites…

Thank you Bell Shakespeare we enjoyed so much
With Puck and Titania and Bottom and Snug. Love-torn
Teenagers with love in idleness in their eyes
Pyramus and Thisbe played by amateurs
Great actors are thee, for you have taught us so much
We will never forget your performance for us.
– Katrina and Lena

You were so fun to watch. Your performance
Made it easy for us to understand.
The laughter that you left us with. Got us
Right through the villainous, hard NAPLAN quiz.
We really admire your skills because
Your acting was exceptionally good.
Your wonderful performance was so cool.
Thank you for coming to our school.
– Skye and Naomi

Bell Shakespeare performers your play was oh so swell,
We really enjoyed the play you did so well.
A highlight was when the mechanicals performed their play,
And when all of the four, young lovers ran far away.
Your acting skills are fantastic, superb and great,
There were all kinds of emotions; jealousy, love and hate.
So thank you for acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
– Maris and Bridget

Yesterday we enjoyed thy Shakespeare play
We loved the characters and all they say.
Thy fairies truly were a sight to see
And all the teenagers were liked by me,
We learned so much and all about your work
The mechanicals sure made us wear a smirk.
You made a midsummer night just come alive
We’ll definitely take Shakespeare for good test drive.
– Emma and India


Say cheese!

Here’s our official Romeo And Juliet cast shot, care of photographer extraordinaire Alex Vaughan.

And for good measure, a silly shot of us and all the wonderful people responsible for bringing our show to life! (including Director Damien Ryan, Designer Lucilla Smith, Lighting Designer Matt Cox, Stage Manager Marianne Carter, Fight Consultant Kyle Rowling  and Artistic Director John Bell in front!)


Office staff on their feet

Sometimes we discover pesky Players pretending to work in the office. Today it was George.

In the Bell Shakespeare office we sometimes get a little jealous of the actors. After all, we sit in the office all day at our computers, while they get to tour to amazing places across Australia, performing for students and teachers everywhere!

So it was with great excitement that we spent half a day with The Players in the rehearsal room, during their training period. We were a ‘test audience’ for them, as they will soon be teaching teachers and students all about Shakespeare’s plays and innovative new ways of teaching them.

This meant that we played warm up games, helped act out Shakespeare’s stories and did some fun scene work. The Players were great facilitators and made the process (nerve-racking for some!) relaxed and entertaining. They were expertly led by our Resident Artist in Education, James Evans. Of course, we loved seeing our office colleagues performing in Shakespeare’s great roles – especially Todd (Production Coordinator) as Romeo, John (Head of Operations) as Juliet and Ruth (Philanthropy Manager) as a very fiery Tybalt. When we were divided into two groups to have a Shakespeare insult-off, I was lucky enough to be on the side with a certain actor by the name of John Bell. We put him up front to win the round for us, except that it was declared a tie. I guess the Players were just playing it safe!

Everyone returned to the office buzzing and grateful for the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the great work that students and teachers will experience this year.

Who knows, some of the office staff might give the Players a run for their money in the acting department!

Jo