It took Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble until their twentieth year to produce a full production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, possibly Shakespeare’s most well-known play.
In case you missed it in high school English; two young people defy the expectations that surround them in a community ripped apart by feuding families. Romeo removes himself from the boys club culture in which he was reared, while Juliet refuses to sacrifice her life and sexuality for security. They are, nevertheless, products of the dominant culture, even as they struggle against it.
‘Romeo & Juliet’, which marks the ensemble’s return to the lovely Roma Street Parkland, promises to provide the clarity, pleasure, and live music for which QSE has been renowned over the previous 20 years. Directed by QSE Artistic Director Rob Pensalfini, the production includes a diverse cast of local classical performers, including Liliana Macarone and Sarah Doyle in the title roles, Rebecca Murphy as the Nurse, new Core Ensemble-member Rebekah Schmidt as Mercutio, and Rob Pensalfini as Friar Lawrence.
Their program, Shakespeare Beyond, which includes A Night At The Theatre (ANATT) and Relaxed Performance, will be offered once again by the company. Debuting in 2016, ANATT asks spectators to donate the cost of a ticket. QSE then collaborates with community organisations such as the Australian Red Cross, Communify, and ARAFMI to provide tickets to those who may not otherwise be able to see live theatre.
One ANATT audience member, Julia, commented that “it was the first time I had ever been to a theatre and to see Shakespeare. I was a bit nervous [that] I would not understand it. It was riveting and exciting. I understood it all and did not want it to finish.”
On Saturday, 4 September 2021 at 2:00 PM, a Relaxed Performance of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ will be conducted, aimed to welcome those with disabilities, autism or sensory sensitivity a special performance with relaxed lighting, sound and design settings. Parents and caregivers may also find the welcoming environment soothing, with audience members allowed to move, speak, and interact at any time throughout the performance.
‘Romeo & Juliet’ reignites Shakespeare’s classic in Roma Street Parkland from 20 August to 5 September 2021. It will prove to be a perfect entertainment option and to miss it would be such sweet sorrow.
For more information about Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ season, or their accessible performances, visit the QSE’s website.