Combine an experienced theatre company, an innovative director in a festival setting performing a rom-com written approximately 400 years ago and what do you have?
The Auckland Summer Shakespeare are returning to the open-air venue at the University of Auckland’s Clock Tower to host a festival of the arts.
The displays will include two of Shakespeare’s plays, a series of sonnets, and a gallery of local artwork.
Summer Shakespeare began in 1963 when Professor Sidney Musgrove and the Auckland University student drama came together to produce the very first Outdoor Summer Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Although it started out as being organised, run and performed by students, in 2010 the change to establish a new full-time guardian of Summer Shakespeare was made.
It would be attached to the students’ association but not reliant upon them while also being staffed by a number of experts who would work towards long-term sustainability.
And after 56 years, their yearly performances throughout Auckland continue to create opportunities for students, young actors and directors to showcase themselves in a unique setting.
Shakespeare’s As You like It is one of the pieces that will be performed at the festival’s opening night on Valentine’s Day from February 14 till March 11.
As You Like It is a comedy of love and transformation where Rosalind and her cousin and best friend Celia are banished from their former lives in a constricted court.
They embark on a journey of liberation in the glorious Forest of Arden. Dressed as a boy and a simple shepherdess, there they find the charms of the pastoral life – music thrumming in the distance, campfires aglow, celebrations of poetry awash with music, nature, love.
As Rosalind transforms herself, fizzing within a world of possibilities, she falls spectacularly in love with Orlando in the only way Shakespeare knows how – with quick minds, sharp tongues and pounding hearts.
In an interview on The Café, Jessie Lawrence (playing Celia) comments on how William Shakespeare’s works are often associated with English studies at high school and how this is not the right setting for his work.
Lawrence goes on to say “Shakespeare is written to be performed and that’s where you will find the joy” in his work.
Director Benjamin Henson leads the 24 members of this cast while adding a modern and contemporary twist so that children through to Shakespeare lovers can understand and enjoy this captivating comedy.
As You Like It plays:
When: 14 February – 11 March 2017,
7:30 pm shows Tues-Sat
Tickets: $20 Students
Tickets from: iTICKET