Entertainment · 13 Feb 2021

Shakespeare in the Park Hits the Big Screen

Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson

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Shakespeare in the Park is this year bringing out the big screen for a weekend of free theatre for the whole family.

Traditionally, for the past 20 years the Shakespeare in the Park Charitable Trust has brought live theatre to gardens around Invercargill, but Covid-19 has changed all that.

Instead, the trust will be presenting four professional productions, previously recorded live by the National Theatre in England – this year hosted in Queens Park.

Co-ordinator Angela Newell said this was the first time they had taken a risk with technology, with help from Speedy Signs who are providing the large screen.

The ILT Foundation has also contributed a grant for the production, to assist the event to be free for all.

As well as the films, held from this Friday 12th through until Sunday 14th, children can get in on the action too, by having their faces painted by local artist, Sarina Faalologo, in the Henry Edington Rose Gardens.

Tying in with fairy focus of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the screening of which will be held from 2:30pm in the band rotunda area on Sunday,  Titania, Queen of the Fairies, will be residing in the rhododendron dell (adjacent to the rose gardens), from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, offering photo opportunities.

“These days, people want to be co-creators in events. They want to capture memories, via selfies or recordings and then share them with others. We hope that Titania’s appearance in the rhododendron dell will encourage people, including those who have had their faces painted, to enjoy their own Shakespeare in the Park experience.”

”Meanwhile, those keen to watch some theatre could attend any of the films for as long or short a time as they wish, with no tickets needed. BYO picnics, chairs and warm-up gear will add to the experience for patrons,” she said.

Other films include the tragedy, Hamlet (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), Richard II and Twelfth Night. 

Angela said Covid-19 has created many risks for live performances and so films such as the NT Live series, helps to keep the arts alive, in this hiatus period. 

The Shakespeare in the Park Trust is likewise responding to the risks of the pandemic, by scaling down and simplifying the annual festivities and choosing films rather than local live performances.

The programme’s timetable can be found online, on Eventfinda, Southlandnz.com or Facebook.