Sharing the Shakespeare stage


TIM Shadbolt’s son Declan Lawton-Dutt (5) is following in his father’s footsteps – appearing on stage in this year’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Declan is one of a troupe of young performers playing small roles throughout Shakespeare’s popular comedy As You Like It, while Shadbolt plays Hymen, God of Marriage.

Shadbolt was asked to play this role because he was a practising marriage celebrant and organisers felt it would add an interesting element to the play.

When they discovered there was going to be children’s auditions, Declan’s mother and Shadbolt’s partner Asha Dutt asked him if he’d be interested in taking part as well.

“He heard his friend James was going to be in it and came along to the audition. He had such a wonderful time, loved the audition process and decided he wanted drama lessons,” Dutt said.

“And having Tim involved was an added security for him.”

They said Declan often attended functions with Shadbolt, including last weekend’s Rev Up in the city centre.

“He’s certainly not shy,” Shadbolt said.

The duo also modelled the pictured costumes created by Alice Bathurst for the Southern Institute of Technology Fashion students’ Chrysalis Graduate Show last year – with Declan ending up on the catwalk three times.

“I had an inkling then maybe the stage was something he would be interested in,” Dutt said.

Declan said he liked getting to walk down the catwalk, and his favourite part was meeting all the people involved.

The youngest member of the cast, Declan’s roles in As You Like It include playing a fairy and a goat.

He said he didn’t mind being up on stage in front of lots of people and would like to do more acting in the future.

Shadbolt said he enjoyed being able to share the experience with Declan, as although he had three older sons in Auckland he hadn’t performed in a play with them.

“It’s a new experience and I think it’s one of the things I’ve really enjoyed raising a child in Invercargill compared with Auckland.”

He said they found they were able to do more due the southern lifestyle, including swimming lessons, horse riding, Rippa rugby, football and tee ball.

“You couldn’t do all that in Auckland with the traffic.”

Shadbolt said the play itself was very entertaining, with a strong cast of Southland performers.

“It’s about human relationships and marriage and the complications and communication breakdowns that can happen.

“You look at Shakespeare and it’s 400 years old, it has really stood the test of time.”

Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It, February 6-10, Otepuni Gardens, Invercargill. Tickets are available at i-SITE and mediaNike News