Shakespeare WA was founded in late 2008 and acquired the rights to run Shakespeare in the Park, after the demise of (the previous) Deckchair Theatre Company and their relinquishing the contract to produce Shakespeare in Perth’s Kings Park. Where no local company was willing to take up the banner of keeping Shakespeare in the Park going, Shakespeare WA quickly and decisively acted to save the event. Within two months Shakespeare in the Park was saved from extinction with a hilarious A Midsummer Night’s Dream that was universally acclaimed by reviewers and enthusiastic crowds alike, and resurrected Shakespeare in the Park into a form that has larger audiences than ever.
Shakespeare WA laid down a benchmark when they created the company byline “Theatre for Everyone” and committed to making Shakespeare accessible for the wider WA community and for people of every social stratum. The company forged ahead in 2010 after the energy resource company Santos partnered us and provided the much needed support to produce an uproariously successful 1960’s The Taming of the Shrew. More recently, in 2011 we produced a lush Renaissance staging of Romeo and Juliet to even larger crowds. In 2012 we produced three shows including The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Last season our World War II setting for Much Ado About Nothing was deemed the best production we have produced so far. Since Shakespeare WA’s inception the company has provided high quality, innovative, and diverse productions at affordable ticket prices.
Our dream of providing “theatre for everyone” is now becoming a reality, as Shakespeare WA is now WA’s largest non-musical theatre event, and has grown by 32% in the past 3 years. The company is committed to reaching both disenfranchised and marginalised communities: organising for Auslan interpreters to translate our performances so that the WA deaf community can enjoy our productions; as well as holding audio described evenings for the WA Blind. We are committed to employing Indigenous artists both behind-the-scenes and onstage, most notably in our 2012 performance of The Tempest, where Caliban and Ariel were played by Indigenous artists.
With the continued support of Santos and Healthway, Shakespeare WA’s 2014 season promises to be another enchanting night of theatre under the stars.