Supporter Spotlight: Charles Littrell

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10.11.2020

1. Firstly Charles, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kimberly and I were both born in the U.S. but immigrated to Australia in 1991, the same auspicious year our triplets were born. I was a banker for Westpac, then a regulator for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, and am now working for the Central Bank of The Bahamas. Kim is a haematologist and pathologist and has worked for the state health service for the past 25 years.

2. What was your first memory with Bell Shakespeare?

I remember attending plays in the 1990s, from which John Bell and Sean O’Shea particularly stand out in my mind.

3. What is the greatest experience you remember sharing with the company?

The greatest experience for me, has been the cumulative impact of seeing Bell Shakespeare’s plays. The company’s engagement over several years with Justin Fleming to present the Molière canon to a modern Australian audience, has been particularly impressive.

I’d also have to make special mention of John Bell’s books. The 2002 John Bell: The time of my life is not only a good autobiography but an excellent history of the modern Sydney stage. The 2011 On Shakespeare is a remarkable balance of practical erudition and accessibility, to help a reader better understand Bill’s work.

4. What has been your favourite Bell Shakespeare production and why?

Tartuffe (2014) was magnificent. A wonderful Fleming translation; Peter Evans brilliant in the director’s chair; the cast balancing exceptionally well between stand-alone and ensemble acting; and the designers all at the top of their game. Close to a perfect production. Also 2017’s Richard 3; we told Kate Mulvany after the opening night, it turns out correctly, that she would need to reserve a spot in her calendar for the Helpmann awards. Beyond the central performance, however, the cast was brilliant in ensemble, and the dramaturgical focus on full exposition of the women’s roles was a good choice.

5. Why are you passionate about the new Play In A Day program?

In the past five years Sydney’s Equity theatre companies, for reasons best left to them to explain, have essentially ceased production of pre-1945 plays. Bell is of course the major exception to this infatuation with novelty, but the company only has the capacity to mount about three productions per year. We strongly believe that serious playgoers deserve to see serious plays, not only fresh plays but great plays from the past. The two play readings in 2021 will expose Sydney audiences to Thomas Middleton’s work. Middleton is arguably (with John Fletcher) the leading playwright of the period, once we get beyond Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Jonson. Furthermore, he was nearly the only playwright (Mr. Shakespeare notably excepted) who was very successful with both his tragedies and his comedies.

Charles and Kimberly have a deep connection to the great plays of the past. They recently donated a 1616 first edition of Ben Jonson’s Folio to The University of Sydney.

6. What excites you about the future of the Company?

The new space at Pier 2/3 will create many opportunities for Bell Shakespeare to engage with its stakeholders, including its core audience of playgoers who are passionately committed to modern Australian interpretations of classical plays.

Find out more about Play In A Day.

If you would like to share your story about what moves you to support Bell Shakespeare, we would love to hear from you. Email together@bellshakespeare.com.au.