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POSTED: 27 JUNE 2010

Tasmania celebrates the Bard with Australia's first major Shakespeare festival*

The Australian Shakespeare Festival — a major new multi-arts festival — will have its inaugural season in Hobart from 9-29 August. The three-week festival includes opera, revue, film, music and fringe performances.

“The most exciting thing about the Shakespeare Festival for me is that it’s the only multi-arts-category Shakespeare Festival in the world. There are no other Shakespeare festivals like it,” said the festival’s executive producer, Professor Kevin Purcell, the Director of the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania.

Some of the festival’s many highlights will include the first all-professional production in Australia of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ comic opera, Sir John in Love (based on The Merry Wives of Windsor) and Christopher Luscombe’s and Malcolm McKee’s comic paean to the Bard, The Shakespeare Revue.

If you’re still scarred from reading Shakespeare at high school this diversity can help the healing.

“The festival allows people to get into Shakespeare from all different points. It’s very much designed to allow the community to find the type of Shakespeare experience that makes them feel comfortable and potentially excites them into coming to performances,” said Professor Purcell.

At this diverse festival, children and adults can find out how Shakespeare informs their lives.

“And Shakespeare does inform people’s lives,” said Professor Purcell. “He is the greatest writer in the last 400 years without doubt. Every one of Shakespeare’s tales tells a story about human frailties and universal themes and that’s why everywhere in the world he is popular. In the US alone there are over 200 Shakespeare festivals. In Australia we didn’t, until now, have one single national Shakespeare festival.”

For further information, visit www.australianshakespearefestival.com.au and www.luminatasmania.com.

*Based on media release issued by Discover Tasmania.


JUNCTION ARTS FESTIVAL*

Another new Tasmanian winter arts festival will be held in Launceston during August, featuring nearly 50 mostly-free arts events, ranging from theatre and dance to opera, visual arts and writing.

The event’s hub will be the Festival Club, which will be housed in a big top in the city centre. Around it and in places nearby, writers will create love letters in cafes, musicians will roam the mall in rickshaws, dancers will perform in shopfronts, and well-known buildings will be drenched in light.

The festival, which will turn hotel rooms into art galleries and church halls into blogging hubs, will also include a program of workshops and artists’ talks.

For further information, visit www.junction2010.com and www.luminatasmania.com.

*Based on media release issued by Discover Tasmania.