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15 Jul 2020
Sarah and David Howell are avid supporters of Bell Shakespeare, having attended productions since the early days of the company. We spoke to them both about why they love what Bell Shakespeare does both on and off the mainstage
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Blue Mountains residents since Covid. Firefighters, music lovers, and cat owners. Our current cat is named Sir Toby Belch for his impressive paunch. David is in finance and I have always worked in the arts and sung in choirs. We both love theatre and experienced as much as we could when we lived in New York and London and support theatre across Sydney.
2. What was your first experience with Bell Shakespeare?
We have been attending Bell Shakespeare productions since 1991. David worked for the English bank, NatWest in the 90s. Being English, NatWest was approached to sponsor Bell Shakespeare. We both remember attending a performance of The Merchant of Venice in a tent with NatWest clients – one of whom wittily suggested that Shylock should be sporting a NatWest logo on his costume.
3. What has been your favourite Bell Shakespeare production and why?
The most recent production we have seen is always the favourite, but Kate Mulvany’s performance in Richard 3 is a stand-out memory. Her performance was so compelling that any issues of gender disappeared within the first few minutes. The whole production was unforgettably stunning.
4. Why do you support Bell Shakespeare?
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the staff of Bell Shakespeare in 2016 in the Development department covering a maternity leave position, writing grant applications to trusts and foundations. This enabled me to learn much more about how much the company does in the education sphere, particularly in the areas of juvenile justice and presenting to audiences in regional and remote areas. I sat in on a performance of The Players and can remember all these little kids sitting cross legged on the floor totally engaged, having so much fun. It was so much fun for me as well. It is inspiring to witness audiences seeing themselves reflected in the timeless texts of Shakespeare.
5. What inspired you to become a part of The Bell Shakespeare Legacy Circle?
The work of Bell Shakespeare with audiences in schools, and regional and remote communities is making thought provoking differences to the lives of those who experience performances and workshops. We would like to play a small part in enabling this inspiring work to continue into the future.
6. What excites you about the future of the Company?
We both find it inspiring to know how the universality of Shakespeare applies to the lives of all Australians now and into the future. It is wonderful to witness the skill of the educators and actors bringing the texts to life and connecting to audiences of all backgrounds.
If you would like to share your story with us about what moves you to support Bell Shakespeare, we would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org