June 2, 2015


Shakespeare is alive and well and living in the 21st Century in New Zealand with a myriad of local live productions and a veritable feast of “live theatre on screen” from Shakespeare’s Globe On Screen (SGOS) 2015. 

SGOS, in association with Arts Alliance and SGCNZ, is presenting a bumper season with a Webster play and seven Shakespeare plays all filmed live, in high definition, at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.  And they are coming to cinema near you with venues across the country from Auckland to Dunedin.**(see below for participating cinemas) 

The season opens with John Webster’s The Duchess Of Malfi [screenings completed].  The Duchess of Malfi was the opening production in the fantastic candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.  A gripping story of love, secret marriage and terrible and horrific revenge on the heroine by her brothers.  The candlelit setting of the Wanamaker Playhouse adds an extra dimension to this ‘must see’ production. Metro gave the production four stars.

Early June brings Titus Andronicus to the screen.  Titus returns to Rome as a conquering hero, murders the son of his prisoner Queen Tamora and refuses to accept the title of emperor.  Mutilation, rape and murder feature. How could it possibly end well?  Five stars from The Arts Desk and four stars from The Telegraph.

Julius Caesar, the best known of the Bard’s “Roman” plays opens later in June.  Homecoming hero Caesar is seen to be too ambitious and so is murdered.  Mark Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans and Countrymen …” speech, a masterclass in the art of political double-speak, opens the door for further power struggles.  Both Time Out and Financial Times gave it four stars.

The Roman theme concludes with Antony and Cleopatra, screening from early August.  The Queen of Egypt bewitches Mark Antony, one of the three most powerful men in the Roman Empire. The play explores the concepts of vice and virtue and sex and power and the conflicts arising between them and the real world.   The end is inevitably bad for both Antony and Cleopatra. Four stars from each of The Evening Standard and The Guardian.

In a lighter vein is The Comedy Of Errors showing from later in August.  Twin masters and twin servants, both sets of characters ignorant of the other, make for a wonderful mishmash of mistaken identity and hilarious comedy, and, of course, everything working out in the end.  The Independent commented “as enchanting as it is hilarious” in giving the production five stars.

Magic is a major ingredient in this ‘spellbinding’ production of The Tempest – screeningfrom mid September.  Prospero, deposed and exiled by his brother, is assisted by the spirit Ariel and to a lesser degree, Caliban sets out to take revenge on his brother using his magical powers to summon up a storm.  But will he see it through?  A four star performance in the eyes of The Telegraph.

The “Scottish Play” with its witches, their predictions and the evils that follow, begins its season from mid October.  Once convinced that he is destined to become king of Scotland, Macbeth, ably assisted by his wife, begins with the killing of King Duncan but then has to continue the slaughter to keep his ambitions alive.  It can only end badly and bloodily.  Four stars from The Times.

The final production, on screen from early November, is the ever popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The foursome of Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius, with the aid of some not always appropriate fairy magic, become involved in an hilarious swapping of affections.  The sub- story of the “rude mechanicals” adds to the fun and games.  Being a comedy it all comes right in the end.  It earned four stars from Time Out.

** Distributed by Lido Cinema Auckland, SGOS will be screening at the following cinemas.  Please check times etc with the individual cinemas.

Auckland at the Lido and Rialto (Newmarket); 
Wellington at Lighthouse Petone and Cuba;
Christchurch at the Hollywood;
Hamilton at the Lido;
Tauranga at the Rialto;
Palmerston North at the Downtown Cinema Gold
Dunedin at the Rialto.

Share on social