The Australian Shakespeare Company presents exciting, accessible and contemporary productions of Shakespeare and other dramatised classics in innovative and unique theatre performances.
The company in its current form began life as Shakespeare Under The Stars in 1987 under the directorship of Glenn Elston, who pioneered popular outdoor theatre in Australia. His award winning annual outdoor productions of Shakespeare and The Wind in the Willows have now played to well over a million people throughout the country. Glenn joined the Australian Shakespeare Company in 1998 as Artistic Director and Producer and has developed the company into Australia’s largest independent theatre company.
The Australian Shakespeare Company performs and tours in metropolitan and regional cities and remote and outback locations, from Melbourne and Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens to Kakadu National Park and Beswick Falls in the Northern Territory. Audiences include families, seniors, tourists, students and young professionals, all of whom experience the magic of outdoor performances with some of Australia’s finest professional performers and creative artists.
Although best known for performances in parks and gardens, the Australian Shakespeare Company creates extraordinary productions for all locations – indoor and outdoor – creating plays that are not only site specific but can be adapted to the needs and circumstances of particular communities and occasions.
In 2010 the company launched the Young Bards education programme for 7 to 18 year olds. With this programme the Australian Shakespeare Company extends its vision of exciting, contemporary theatre produced the way Shakespeare intended – unshackled from traditional constraints, accessible and above all entertaining for everyone.
The Australian Shakespeare Company was founded in 1982 by British actor and director Neale Warrington and co-founders Ivan Calnin, Laurence Balshaw-Blake, David Peake, Phillip Beckensall, Barry Robinson, Barry Berger and Rex Perry. Under the Artistic Directorship of Neale Warrington, activities included numerous Shakespeare productions in Melbourne and regional Victoria. A significant achievement during this period was the establishment of the Shakespeare on the River Festival in 1992 at Stratford in Victoria. This annual festival has played an important creative role in rural Victoria, growing to include over 20 different events over a 2.5 week period.
The Australian Shakespeare Company’s work and tours have been supported by the Australia Council and Playing Australia and generous in-kind support has been received from corporate organisations.