2019 Shakespeare Festival Program:

“ShakesFeare”

The 2019 Shakespeare on the River festival embraces the role of supernatural in the works of William Shakespeare. From Hamlet’s dead father to the witches of Macbeth, The Bard invoked plenty of ghosts, sprites and things that go bump in the night to frighten his audience.  The festival runs over two weeks starting on Friday 26th April with a grand opening in the Stratford Courthouse Theatre and performance by Groundwork Youth Theatre. In a big opening weekend Saturday 27th April sees The Bard’s Banquet – A Dead Man’s party , a three course meal with a Shakespearean twist. Featuring the dark comedic talents of improv troupe The Soothplayers, the night gives the banquet goers the chance to dress up in their ghoulish best and dance the night away. This is one of the highlights of the Festival, often booking out weeks in advance.

In a change from tradition the popular market day will run on Saturday May 4th, starting at three o’clock in the afternoon and running into the evening. With the return of the pop up Shakesbeer bar, two live music stages, food stalls, craft makers and artisans at work, acting workshops and medieval games on the village green there is sure to be something for everyone. Come dressed in your best medieval outfit or ghoulish garb to join in the fun of a twilight faire.

In addition to the usual theatrical performances, audiences are also invited to come join in a guided ghost tour. Explore the darker side of old Stratford town then finish with a warm spiced cider by the Courthouse Theatre fire.

Click here to download your own printable version of the 2019 Festival Program

 

OFFICIAL FESTIVAL OPENING

Friday April 26, 6.30pm
The Stratford Courthouse, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: Free event, no booking required.

Our official launch at The Stratford Courthouse Theatre. Featuring live performances, announcement of the winners in the Sheila Malady Short story competition, and our annual festival awards.  

"The Taming of the Shrew"
The Community Players

Friday May 3, 7.30pm
Saturday May 4, 8pm
Sunday May 5, 4pm
Thursday May 9, 7.30pm
Friday May 10, 7.30pm
Saturday May 11, 7.30pm

All shows performed at the Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: Adults $25 // Concession $15

The story of Bianca and Katherine, the two daughters of Baptista Minola, one as wild as the other is mild. Baptista decrees that his youngest daughter will not marry until his older, more tempestuous daughter finds her match. With the men in the town all fearing an independent woman, will Baptista ever find someone to tame his terrifying progeny? Add in some smooth talking suitors, a couple of shady bargains and a few clever disguises and you have what is sure to be a fantastic night of comedy to delight even the coldest of shrews.

Directed by Jake Watson & Kieren Donoghue

Bard's Banquet: Dead Man’s Party

Saturday April 27, 7pm
Mechanics Hall, Hobson Street Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $60 (includes a three course meal + entertainment)

Saturday April 27 will be a night of wondrous macabre as we celebrate all things ShakesFeare. Banquet goers are treated to a three course meal, drinks at the Bard’s Bar and top class entertainment by The Soothplayers direct from The Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Back for their fourth appearance in the festival, The Soothplayers have received rave reviews for Completely Improvised Shakespeare. Each performance is a completely new work, using Shakespearean language, themes and style. Even the musical accompaniment is completely improvised! The cast includes veterans of the Australian Shakespeare Company as well as Melbourne’s premier improvisation troupes, including The Improv Conspiracy, Impro Melbourne, The Big HOO-HAA!, and Impromptunes. They work hard to provide a high-quality, hilarious show that is guaranteed to be frightfully funny. Revellers will then have the chance to dance into the witching hour with the resident DJ.

So come dressed in your best ghouls, ghosts or outfits of the undead. Tickets $60 per head, book early to avoid disappointment.

https://www.soothplayers.com/ | https://instagram.com/soothplayers/ | https://www.facebook.com/soothplayers

"Toil and Trouble" 
Groundwork Youth Theatre

Friday April 26, 8pm
Saturday April 27, 5pm
Sunday April 28, 1pm
Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $15

What if nothing is what it seems?
What if good doesn’t always win?
What if there is another side to the story?
Join Groundwork Youth Theatre as they uncover the hidden truths, dark secrets and twisted motives of the Bard’s most vile villains.

Directed by Lauren Reid. 

https://www.facebook.com/groundworkyouththeatre/

ShakesFeare Stratford Ghost Tour

Tuesday, 30 April, 7.30pm
Tuesday, May 7, 7.30pm
Wednesday, May 8, 7.30pm
Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $20 (+13yr only)

Tour the old streets of Stratford and hear of the days when horse thieves, murderers and the innocent victim occupied the town.  Be thrilled and chilled by the town’s shadowy past intertwined with Shakespeare’s best known villains who have appeared every April and May in the town for over 26 years.

But don’t be afraid you will never be alone! You will be guided through the streets of Stratford entertained by tales and antics and finally to the historic courthouse which will reveal its own dark stories…

Please note that limited bookings are available for each session due to the nature of the event. This event is also not all access friendly because the event takes place over uneven terrain and up steep stairs.

Great Shakespearean Debate

Monday, May 6, 7.30pm
The Stratford Courthouse, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: Free event, no booking required.

After a successful return at last year’s banquet we again challenge two teams of local theatrical minds to argue the pros and cons of a timeless Shakespearean proposition. This year teams will argue over whether “It is easier to scare the audience than make ‘em laugh”  Free event at the Stratford Courthouse Theatre. Bar will be open

Traditional Evensong

Sunday, April 28, 4.30pm
Holy Trinity Church, 26 McFarlane Street, Stratford

Tickets: Free event, no booking required

Evensong at the Holy Trinity Church is a Shakespeare on the River Festival tradition. Come along and celebrate this ecumenical service with us.
 

Vocal/Marimba Nosh

Sunday, May 5, 12pm
Mechanics Hall, Hobson Street, Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $15 (includes a hot lunch)

Sing what you Play and Play what you Sing.  Jenny Candy leads us in an afternoon of rhythm, soup and song. No previous musical experience is necessary. Don’t let the kids have all the fun!

Avon Village Twilight Faire & Market

Saturday May 4, 3pm-8pm
Hobson Street, Stratford

Tickets: Free event, no booking required.

In a change from tradition our popular market day will run on a Saturday afternoon from 3pm into the evening. With the return of the pop up Shakesbeer bar, two live music stages, food stalls, craft makers and artisans at work, acting workshops and medieval games on the village green there is sure to be something for everyone. Come dressed in your best medieval outfit or ghoulish garb to join in the fun of a twilight faire.

For more information on Faire Day, head to our dedicated Faire Day page here.


Enter Ophelia”
by Essential Theatre & Three Birds Theatre

Wednesday, May 1, 7.30pm
Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: Adults $35 // Concession $30

Enter Ophelia is a darkly funny gothic riff centering Shakespeare’s iconic drowned damsel into the spotlight of Denmark, where Ophelia must question and navigate the darkest corners and secrets of her world in order to take charge of her own fate. With direction from critically acclaimed director John Kachoyan & striking design by some of Melbourne’s finest creatives, Enter Ophelia promises to be a punchy, dark and thrilling exploration of femininity, isolation and silliness. You too will be lured into the heightened and absurd world of Shakespeare’s Denmark.

Shakespeare In Short”
The Courthouse Kids

Monday, May 6, 6pm
Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $5

Hamlet, the perfect Shakespeare play for kids featuring ghosts, castles, sword fights, bodily fluids and spooky stuff. Stratford's youngest thespians present Shakespeare's bloodiest tale, Hamlet: Prince of Denmark.

Directed by Rachael Nicholls and Blake Roberts 


"Macbeth"
Combined Stratford Primary School Grade 6 Students

Tuesday May 7, 1.30pm
Wednesday May 8, 1.30pm
Friday May 10, 6pm
Mechanics Hall, Hobson Street Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $5

'By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes'.  Driven by ambition, power & greed, Macbeth will not let anything or anyone stop him from obtaining the crown. Come see the grade six students of Stratford Primary and St Patrick's Primary tackle one of The Bard’s most famous tragedies.

Directed by Alexis Ingram.

“Shakespeare Spectacular”
The George Gray Centre

Thursday, May 9, 1.30pm
Mechanics Hall, Hobson Street Stratford

Tickets: Free event, no booking required.

George Gray Center presents a collection of Shakespeare's best together with a modern jest. Shakespeare's witches conjure a spell to bring about the downfall of Macbeth, while fairies put spells on young lovers. Interwoven with the magical theme our court jesters dance to and interpret the hauntingly beautiful 'Send In The Clowns'. Accompanying will be The George Gray Choir.

“Scenes from Hamlet”
Camberwell Grammar School

Saturday, May 4, 2pm
Mechanics Hall, Hobson Street Stratford

Tickets: All Tickets $10

Hailed as one of the world’s most influential pieces of literature, Shakespeare’s Hamlet explores themes of revenge, mortality and madness. When Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, he must choose between the path of acquiescence and his desire for retribution. 

Camberwell Grammar’s production of Hamlet is set in a medieval Game of Thrones landscape, featuring sword fighting and mask work. It is directed by Andrew Stocker with Set and Prop Design by Mark Wager and Costume Design by Jennifer Bennie.

Join us for this 1 hour version of the greatest play ever written!

“Such Sweet Sorrow”
Dramawerkz Youth Theatre

Saturday, May 11, 3pm
Stratford Courthouse Theatre, 66 Princes Highway, Stratford

Tickets: All tickets $10

In this musical play about the great playwright, the life and work of William Shakespeare is told by the weird sisters. Those very same sisters who played a pivotal role in Macbeths’s fate, act as instruments of fate delivering prophecies to Shakespeare who is motivated to pursue his own ambition and achieve greatness.