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Australian Shakespeare Company announce Under The Stars summer program

Don't forget your picnic blanket!

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The Australian Shakespeare Company are bringing four absolute classics to the gorgeous surrounds of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and Rippon Lea House & Garden this summer.

The Wind in the Willows

This summer, Glenn Elston’s critically-acclaimed family production of The Wind in the Willows returns to the stage for its 34th year.

Australia’s longest-running annual stage show begins with every audience member magically transformed into a rabbit by the Head Chief Rabbit. With a waggle of the ears and wiggle of the nose, it’s off on an adventure the rabbits go. First, they’ll meet Mole and Ratty before being introduced to Ratty’s riverbank friends Badger, Otter and little Portly before they go off to meet the famous Mr Toad at Toad Hall. Accidents, singing, laughter, surprises, and search parties are all a part of the adventure.

The Wind in the Willows Director, Otis Elston says, “The Wind in the Willows has been entertaining Melbourne kids for generations, myself included. I’m overjoyed to be directing this year’s production, giving new generations of Melbourne children the opportunity to experience this magical adventure, and giving parents the chance to reminisce on a show that won over their hearts ten, twenty, even 30 years ago.”

The Australian Shakespeare Company will present The Wind in the Willows at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria from Tuesday 24 December until Sunday 26 January. Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.au.

australian shakespeare company

Alice In Wonderland

Pack your picnic and enjoy Alice’s marvellous journey in Wonderland brought to life at Rippon Lea House and Garden. Lewis Carroll’s classic story will be cleverly lifted from the page and brought to life by The Australian Shakespeare Company – this highly acclaimed production was even awarded Best Stage Play by London’s Entertainment Views in 2018.

You’ll be left with a grin from ear to ear as the Cheshire Cat cheekily guides Alice through Wonderland, and audiences can’t miss Humpty Dumpty on his way to meet Tweedledum and Tweedledee as they tell the tale of the Walrus and the Carpenter. What might seem slightly silly becomes downright absurd as the Mad Hatter arrives with the March Hare and the Dormouse to have a grand time with Alice at the tea party before the Queen of Hearts enters for a magnificent finale where every audience member can join in the fun.

Families can pack a picnic, get dressed up as their favourite Alice in Wonderland characters and immerse themselves in the interactive games and catchy songs.

Alice in Wonderland Director, Otis Elston, says, “The story of Alice in Wonderland is one that every child has grown up with, yet never seems to grow old. We can’t wait to bring Alice to the stage this summer, introducing Melbourne’s youngest audiences to the magic that is theatre, and giving everyone the chance to relive one of their favourite childhood classics.”

The Australian Shakespeare Company will present Alice In Wonderland at Rippon Lea House and Gardens, Elsternwick from Tuesday 7 January until Sunday 26 January. Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.au.

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Hamlet

Arguably the greatest tragedy in English theatre, Glenn Elston’s Hamlet will engross audiences as the court of Denmark spirals from order to chaos live on stage.

The production will star some of Australia’s finest actors including Andre de Vanny (Hamlet), Alison Whyte (Gertrude), Greg Stone (Claudius), Brian Lipson (Polonius), Emily Goddard (Ophelia), Andrew Coshan (Laertes), Matt Connell (Horatio), Syd Brisbane (Gravedigger), Dion Mills (Ghost), Mark Wilson (Rosencrantz), Annabelle Tudor (Guildenstern) Anna Burgess (Osric), and Tony Rive (Marcellus)

The Australian Shakespeare Company Artistic Director, Glenn Elston OAM, says, “Hamlet is a tale of conspiracy, deception and moral ambiguity, where everyone has something to hide, and the answer is far from simple. Hamlet is one of the most human characters Shakespeare ever wrote, making every audience member focus on the uncomfortable knowledge that tragedy evolves from human error, even if the mistake is as simple as leaving things undecided.”

The Australian Shakespeare Company will present Hamlet at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria from Friday 20 December until Sunday 9 February. Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.au.

Twelfth Night

One of William Shakespeare’s greatest romantic comedies Twelfth Night will once again bring together Viola, Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia in their ever-complicated love triangle. Glenn Elston’s comedic interpretation of the classic tale is an unmissable fusion of seventeenth-century drama and popular culture, sure to leave audiences in hysterics.

The story goes as such – Viola, a shipwrecked girl, dresses as a man to get a job and simultaneously falls madly in love with Orsino. All the while, Orsino pines for Olivia who refuses all his advances because she fancies Viola, without realising he is really a girl dressed up as a man. From there, you bet that drama ensues.

“Our interpretation of Twelfth Night will heighten Shakespeare’s iconic characters with modern references, bright costumes, set design and countless twists and turns. Our aim is to create an atmosphere that feels like a world transcending time and space, mirroring the confusing nature of the play itself. Shakespeare was the original extremist, and we’ve taken inspiration directly from the source,” says Elston.

The Australian Shakespeare Company will present Twelfth Night at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria from Thursday 13 February to Sunday 29February. Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.au.

The Australian Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Under the Stars program offers something for everyone, having fast become an unmissable summer tradition for Melburnians and visitors alike.

“Shakespeare Under the Stars offers something for everyone. Melbourne’s great summer weather and fresh air make for the most relaxed theatre experience you’ll find, allowing everyone to be engaged in the show’s interactive offering. It’s the perfect night out with friends and family,” says Elston.

The Australian Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare Under the Stars program is on sale now.