Shakespeare festival begins Saturday

THIS year’s Shakespeare on the River Festival will have the theme ‘For the Love of Shakespeare’. Taking place from Saturday until May 6, the festival will offer a huge range of activities, with a highlight the popular Avon Village Faire and Market Day on Sunday, May 6.

This will offer traditional arts, crafts, food, beverages, fresh produce, exhibitions, displays, children’s games, stalls, demonstrations, vocal ensembles, maypole dancing, performances and more.

The festival will be officially opened on Saturday night at The Stratford Courthouse Theatre and Segue Community Café and Art Gallery.

It will feature live performances, the opening of The Tempest Art Exhibition and announcement of winners in the Sheila Malady short story competition, plus festival awards.

Groundwork Youth Theatre will present its adaptation of

The Comedy of Errors on Saturday and Sunday which involves confusion, slap stick humour, cross dressing and the occasional fart joke, all set in the Wild West.

Children are invited to Stratford’s Medieval Apex Park for a Shakespearean Birthday Bash this Sunday, where Stratford’s Courthouse Kids will perform snippets of some of Shakespeare’s famous plays.

Activities will include games, crafts, a scavenger hunt and giant birthday cake.

The talented Soothplayers will improvise a hilarious Shakespearean play from a suggested title from the audience.

This could be a comedy, tragedy or history piece.

This will take place next Monday, April 23.

Vocal Nosh on Sunday, April 30, will be an afternoon of soup and song, led by Bruthen’s Eva Grunden.

This is a popular event for those who love to sing, or those who are yet to find their voice.

Community players will perform The Tempest, offering five performances during the festival.

For Prospero, time does not heal all wounds.

After being usurped as the Duke of Milan by his brother, Prospero and his daughter Miranda found refuge in a harsh and exotic island world.

Twelve years later, Prospero is ripe for vengeance.

The Tempest is a tale of revenge, forgiveness and mutiny — and magic ensues.

The combined Stratford schools production this year will be Romeo and Juliet, directed by Rachael Nicholls.

There will be several performances during the festival — expect brawling, brides and bloodshed.

The Bard’s Banquet theme this year will be ‘Under the Sea’.

The banquet, on Saturday, April 28, is a festival tradition where revellers come together to eat, drink, be merry and be entertained.

People are invited to go along, dress up and embrace the  seafaring theme.

From the sailors of The Tempest, to pirates of Pericles and shipwrecked twins aplenty, The Bard provides ample inspiration.

Ye Olde Rusty Rockers will fill the dance floor afterwards and The Bard’s Bar will sell local craft beer and wines.

Shakespeare in Therapy will be performed on May 5 and 6.

Death might be the end of the story for many Shakespearean characters, but it doesn’t mean the end of their emotional baggage.

Welcome to the after-life group therapy session for people who have been traumatised by their playwright.

There will be tears, tantrums and some insight as Desdemona, Romeo, Ophelia and others process their feelings and actions.

Join them for instant coffee, cheap name tags, and overexposed feelings.

The Tempest — A Shakespearean Inspired Exhibition be held at the Segue Community Café-Gallery space from April 21 to May 10.

Well known and emerging local artists have created works inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

People will be able to vote for the best piece to win a people’s choice award.

To book festival events, visit www.stratfordshakespeare.com.au.