As the world commemorates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's most musical play, Twelfth Night, theatre enthusiasts are in for a treat with Heather Fairbairn's fresh retelling of the timeless romantic comedy. The new theatre production will arrive at Sydney Opera House as part of Bell Shakespeare’s grand Australian tour from October 26 to November 19, bringing with it a stellar ensemble and six new songs by ARIA-winning musician Sarah Blasko.
Twelfth Night invites audiences into a dark yet enchanting garden setting, where hidden identities and unrequited love collide. Determined to survive in this strange land, the protagonist, Viola, disguises herself as a man named Cesario and finds work with Duke Orsino, only to fall head over heels in love with him. But Orsino is in love with Olivia, who – grieving for her brother – refuses all offers of romance. You’ll be swept up in this whirlwind of passion and encouraged to search for light in the darkness as the plot unfolds.
Director Heather Fairbairn said, “I’m fascinated by the enigmatic nature of Twelfth Night, or What You Will, a play that asks more questions than it answers. Designer Charles Davis and I embraced this ambiguity, purposefully positioning the action in no fixed place at no fixed time. Sarah Blasko's melancholic yet genre-defying music sits perfectly within this a-historical nowhere.”
Twelfth Night features a talented cast including Jane Montgomery Griffiths (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titus Andronicus), Keith Agius, Isabel Burton, Alfie Gledhill, Amy Hack, Garth Holcombe, Mike Howlett, Tomáš Kantor, Chrissy Mae and Ursula Mills.
Fairbairn adds, “I’m delighted to be working with such a stellar ensemble of actors, who each bring something unique to their role. The production subverts standard casting approaches in regards to gender, with the role of Viola played by Alfie Gledhill; the result offers a timely exploration of the fluidity of gender and sexuality, as well as a celebration of love in all its forms.”