The Ultimate Shakespeare Dinner Party: 2

We asked 11 Shakespeare buffs to pick the character they’d love to sit next to at a fantasy dinner party. In the second article in our series, we reveal the final six names who made the cut. Compiled by Andy McLean.



As Twelfth Night tours Australia – serving up a barrel of laughs – we’re hosting the ultimate dinner party to celebrate! Here’s six more Shakespeare characters on our guestlist.

(ICYMI: Read about the first six Shakespeare characters who we previously invited to dinner.)

Guest #7: Rosalind from As You Like It

Author and scholar Sir Jonathan Bate says all the best dinner parties he’s attended have abided by the old-fashioned seating plan of boy/girl/boy/girl, “So my choice has to be one of Shakespeare’s great female characters.”

After careful deliberation, Sir Jonathan picked Rosalind from As You Like It. “It’s Shakespeare’s biggest female part. She’d be a great conversationalist who absolutely knows who she is and knows a whole range of emotions. She’d provide fantastic banter in conversation and a little bit of flirtation as well. So I would give my right arm to sit next to Rosalind at a dinner party!”

Guest #8: Feste from Twelfth Night

In choosing his dinner party guest, Bell Shakespeare Associate Director James Evans was torn in several directions. “If I’m looking for a laugh, I think maybe Falstaff, but he’d be standing on his chair all night, entertaining the whole table. So, I’ll take Feste from Twelfth Night – just the right mix of comedy and philosophy. Although he will ask me to tip him at the end of the night.”

Evans also suggested a surprise twist for the end of the night: “Roll Iago out on a Hannibal Lecter trolley and sit me next to him. I need to know why he did it!

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Guests #9 and #10: Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and Lady Macbeth from Macbeth

Social researcher and author Rebecca Huntley says her choice would depend on the type of dinner party she was at. “If it was a dinner party with drunk, self-important men then Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing would be the right person to sit next to, We could roll our eyes and whisper witty remarks to each other and interject in sassy ways throughout the proceedings.”

Alternatively, says Huntley: “If it was a dinner party with close friends, I imagine spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen preparing the food and giving Lady Macbeth some friendly advice – maybe passing over some melatonin and the name of a good psycho-therapist, and offering my spare room to her before Birnam Wood removes to Dunsinane.”

Guest #11: King Lear from King Lear

Bell Shakespeare’s Artistic Director Peter Evans was another who found it almost impossible to pick just one dinner party guest. But in the end it had to be King Lear:

“Depending on what mood he is in, King Lear would be fascinating. And perhaps one would be lucky enough to get all the facets on this extraordinary character. He could be intimidating and frightening, powerful and insightful, sweet and kind, full of remorse and wisdom, or garrulous and entertaining.”

  • Peter Evans will direct two plays in Bell Shakespeare’s 2024 season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear.

Guest #12: Countess of Rossillion from All's Well That Ends Well

In choosing our final dinner party guest, Sydney academic Dr Anna Kamaralli went for a deep cut from Shakespeare’s canon: the Countess of Rossillion from All's Well That Ends Well - on the condition that the Countess is the hostess:

“The Countess of Rossillion is ancient, classy, wise and rich, so I'm sure she puts on a spectacular spread with an array of scintillating guests. There would be food, there would be wine, there would be music, there would be wit and revels. Shakespeare got the story of All's Well That Ends Well from Boccaccio's Decameron, a fourteenth-century Italian collection of bawdy tales, and anyone connected with that book would be bound to have lots of scandalous stories to tell.”

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Read about the first six Shakespeare characters who we previously invited to dinner in our last blog post. Stay up to date with the latest news and offers and sign up to our Bell Shakespeare newsletter.