Bell Shakespeare brings The Merchant of Venice to NORPA

Money makes the world go around. Portia has it. Bassanio wants it. Shylock lends it. Antonio owes the value of it. Love also plays a part. Portia offers it. Bassanio wants it. And Antonio may lose a pound of flesh for it.

Bell Shakespeare Merchant of Venice featuring Mitchell Butell as Shylock photo credit Pierre Toussaint .jpg

NORPA is thrilled to welcome world acclaimed company, Bell Shakespeare, back to the stage of Lismore City Hall with their new production The Merchant of Venice for two evening performances on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 September.

Artistic Director, Peter Evans, said at the announcement earlier this year, “This uncompromising production explores the tense relationship and prejudices between those that have, and those that don’t. The themes of justice and revenge continue to play strongly 400 years after this play was written.”

Featuring three time Helpmann Award winner, Mitchell Butel (Janet King and Rake) as the defiant Shylock, and Jessica Tovey (Wolf Creek and Wonderland) as Portia, the production is directed by Anne-Louise Sarks (Belvoir’s Jasper Jones and Medea), this masterfully envisioned production tackles the prejudices and preconceived notions of one of Shakespeare’s most challenging plays.

Bell_MerchantOfVenice_2017_creditPrudenceUpton_004 copy.jpg


Director Anne-Louise Sarks has developed a reputation for being unflinching in tackling difficult subjects.

“This is only the second time since becoming Artistic Director for Bell Shakespeare that we’ve invited a new director to join us in creating new work. Last year we were thrilled to be joined by Lee Lewis in directing The Literati. This year Anne-Louise Sarks takes the helm of our national tour and will get to present her work to 27 venues around Australia,” said Mr Evans.

Dark in its humour and bawdy in its romantic hijinks, The Merchant Of Venice takes audiences on a journey of love, mercy and justice.
 


"By any measure, this is great theatre. This is an intelligent close reading of the play. Little is overplayed, nothing is dodged. Shylock may be remembered as a career defining role for Mitchell Butel" The Australian

Bell_MerchantOfVenice_2017_creditPrudenceUpton_085 copy.jpg
Bell_MerchantOfVenice_2017_creditPrudenceUpton_155 copy.jpg

NORPA announces team of Associate Artists to help shape contemporary theatre from regional Australia

An impressive team of highly skilled theatre makers has joined Northern NSW based theatre company NORPA as Associate Artists to deliver a greatly increased creative program.


Janis Balodis, Jade Dewi, Caroline Dunphy, Darcy Grant, Mitch King, Valley Lipcer, Kate McDowell and Emma Saunders will work alongside Julian Louis (Artistic Director) and Kirk Page (Associate Director) to create new devised works for NORPA; deliver masterclasses, workshops and training programs; host artist residencies; launch a program for children, families and school students; as well as develop their own works and strengthen creative connections into the Northern Rivers community.

Photograph by Kate Holmes

Photograph by Kate Holmes

The company also welcomes producer Jo Porter who will be working across multiple projects for NORPA including Djurra, directed by Kirk Page premiering in November at Artstate NSW, and a new work in development led by Julian Louis, slated for presentation in 2018.  

“This is an exciting time for NORPA – we are forging an adventurous, artist-led company within a creative cultural hub in regional Australia,” said Artistic Director Julian Louis. “All the artists joining us are accomplished makers in their own right and represent the cutting edge of Australian talent across a multitude of forms – dance, acrobatics, acting, writing, music, production. Each artist brings their own ideas, passion and expertise. They connect us with a myriad of communities and inform NORPA’s aesthetic and creative process.”  

“Together we will create bold, new devised works and a far reaching artistic program that is physical, visceral, ambitious, inclusive and occupies a unique place in the national theatre landscape.”  

For more about each Associate Artist, click here.

Immediate opportunities for people to take advantage of the expertise of the new Associate Artists are via masterclass series and a weekly drop-in class. These are a dance-theatre masterclass with Emma Saunders (Dance Theatre Masterclass 31 Aug – 2 Sept) and a physical theatre and acrobatic masterclass with Darcy Grant (Balancing Dynamics 18-22 September), plus a drop-in weekly class exploring improvisation and performance with Jade Dewi (Training Ground 18-22 September). NORPA Artistic Director Julian Louis will also be involved in all classes. NORPA is offering three complimentary places per masterclass series.   For more information about all classes, click here.

Read NORPA's Quarterly Newsletter for more news about NORPA's creative program.