Join Sport for Jove Theatre Company this summer for a transformative journey through dreams and nightmares – a double bill of magic and the spirit world, and what happens when all hell breaks loose in the woods…
Since he began presenting The Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park programs at historic Bella Vista Farm five years ago, artistic director of Sport for Jove Theatre Company, Damien Ryan, dreamed of presenting The Crucible in the atmospheric old barn, which dates from the early 19th century. This year, Arthur Miller’s famous play opens there on December 12 and will continue through the Leura Shakespeare Festival until January 25.
Lizzie Schebesta, above, plays Abigail in The Crucible – photo: Seiya Taguchi.
Damien says “The barn is perfect for a play about the ways people fill their imaginations with things that scare them. I love that it feels remote from the day-to-day life of Sydney.” He says Arthur Miller “wanted The Crucible to be all-inclusive, more than just a comment on his times. He’s asking how does a society turn on and wipe out its women? Why do communities and nations poison their own democracies?”
While The Crucible is about the trial of The Witches of Salem in 1692, its themes of fear, hysteria, half truths, accusations and counter accusations, hidden agendas and religious intolerance have powerful contemporary relevance. Alongside is a rehearsal photo from the show.
SMH theatre critic Jason Blake says “Damien Ryan can marshal a fit and youthful ensemble better than just about anyone else in the country right now . . . clarity, energy, humour and invention are the hallmarks of Ryan’s style.” Independent company Sport for Jove won plaudits at this year’s Sydney Theatre Awards. Damien directed Bell Shakespeare’s 2014 production of Henry V and played the role of the husband in Belvoir’s production of Nora earlier this year.
A new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Susanna Dowling, is the Shakespearean component of the program and opens in The Hills on Friday, December 5. Alongside is a production photo by Seiya Taguchi.
In addition to these two plays, Sport for Jove is again presenting a Second Age Project developed with students in The Hills District. Will-I-Am will be seen for three nights at 5.30pm, from December 19 to 21. You are invited to “Follow the journey of William Shakespeare and 17 of his best students as they desperately try to save his complete works from ending up in the deep bosom of the ocean buried, and try to answer that age old question ‘why are we still studying these plays?'” It promises great fun and interest and is all part of the company’s continuing commitment to provide a bold, vigorous and inventive program of syllabus-based works for NSW students and teachers through its ‘Rough Magic’ Education Program . Click here for more detail.