If you’re ready for a bit of culture with a difference, pop this one in the diary! It’s Shakespeare but not as you know it, and it’s being performed on the spectacular Coal Loader Platform.
The amazing North Sydney venue has played host to markets, live music, early morning yoga sessions and fabulous light shows and now it’s getting ready for an evening of old-fashioned entertainment with a twist. The free production of As You Like It will debut on February 29 and there’ll be an encore performance on March 7.
The Shakespeare comedy favourite is being presented by Bar’d Work, a Sydney company formed last year, and it’s going to be different from the stuffy performances you might remember from your HSC set text days .
“We wanted to move away from traditional theatre that happens in a black box, where the show happens in front of you, and you are passive in the experience. We see it as more of an ‘experience’ than a theatre show, because we encourage audience participation and direct address, whilst making it as relaxed, relatable, and enjoyable as possible,” says Bar’d Work co-founder and Artistic Director Chris Huntly-Turner. “Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in pubs and inns, so we’re bringing them back to their roots. His plays were written to be of his time, so we try to update our shows with modern references, pop songs and singalongs, plus the occasional dance routine or choreographed fight.”
And for those who find the more traditional takes on Shakespeare’s work a little long and tedious, Huntly-Turner’s production is the perfect antidote. “We also distill the play down into a manageable 90 minutes, whilst still preserving the story and as much of The Bard’s language as possible. In a sense, we try to make Shakespeare for people who think they don’t like Shakespeare, just as much as we make it for the seasoned Shakespeare fans. It’s meant to be fun!”
Bar’d work have taken their Shakespeare experience to many pubs around the city but Huntly-Turner is rising to the creative challenge of moving the production to an outdoor venue. “I’m really looking forward to it as it’s our first outdoor show, which will be a great opportunity to play with the space. We’re used to the confines of a pub function room, so I think this will give us the freedom to play with something different. The venue is absolutely stunning, and we’re really excited about performing in front of such a great backdrop. Our actors are trained to adapt to a new set-up every night, so I think this will a great creative challenge. You’ll have to come and see it for yourself!”
As with all Coal Loader events, sustainability is a key message. You can bring a picnic to enjoy under the stars, refill your bottles, BYO alcohol and keep the single use plastics away from the venue. And families please note – this production is filled with colourful language and is suitable for adults only. Leave the kids at home and enjoy this fun cultural experience set in the spectacular surroundings of the Coal Loader.
Shakespeare on the Platform
Saturday February 29 and Saturday 6 March from 6pm (This event is not ticketed and likely to be popular so please arrive early!)
Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Drive Waverton