Shakespeare show all go despite Covid

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Shakespeare In The Park director Angela Newell. Photo: File

THE annual Shakespeare in the Park production, A Plague O’ Both Your Houses is under way with a cast of fourteen set to present a smorgasbord of scenes in Queens Park from February 2-6.

The popular “promenade” style is back, and going ahead under the Red light Covid setting, allowing audiences to wander around the park, encountering short scenes and characters
based on Shakespeare’s works.

An extra event will presented on February 6 — a concert to celebrate Waitangi Day entirely comprised of New Zealand music.

With about 800 references to medicine and health in the bard’s work, this year’s promenade production will illuminate some of the customs, beliefs, knowledge and practices that peppered Elizabethan life. While our own community grapples with the ever-
present Covid-19 pandemic, for Shakespeare’s audiences, infectious diseases such as smallpox, typhus, malaria, dysentery, and influenza were commonplace.

“The humanity that Shakespeare portrayed — his ability to ‘hold, as t’were, the mirror up to nature’, is one of the key strengths that makes his work so compelling,” director Angela Newell says.

“His brilliance lies in showing us both the fragility and the resilience of human beings. Sickness and health, especially emotional wellbeing, all underpin his characters.’’

The trust, which has been presenting Shakespeare in the park for 21 years, will be following the Government’s health and safety guidelines for events. Designated  performance places, accessible with My Vaccine Pass verification will allow for a safe outdoor event experience.

In addition to the promenade show, the Shakespeare in the Park Charitable Trust will also present a Waitangi Day concert on Sunday, February 6 in the NZ Natives Garden in Queens Park.

Music will be provided by Maria Tipuna and Daniel Monteath, focusing on an entirely New Zealand song list. This concert will take place from 3.30pm, immediately after the final promenade show.

Audiences are encouraged to bring a picnic and appropriate seating.

The production and Waitangi Day concert are free to attend.

Covid-19 vaccination passes must be produced to access the performance spaces.

The cast of A Plague O’ Both Your Houses includes the following performers: Ricky Andrews, Lydia Blomfield, Frank Dean, Riley Ford, Callum Fowler, Rachel Hawkes, Jemma Hillman, Neil McDonald, Aimee Marshall, Victoria Morgan, Maggie Pirie, Pip Smith, Rosalie
Wright and musician Kip Tipuna.

■ For further information contact the Shakespeare in the Park Charitable Trust on email: shakespearesouth@gmail.com or via the ShakespeareNZ Facebook page.
Director Angela Newell may be contacted on 021 516-387.

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