History of Bell Shakespeare

Bell Shakespeare began its extraordinary journey in 1990 with a singular vision from our Founding Artistic Director, John Bell, supported by arts philanthropist, the late Anthony Gilbert AM – to take the works of Shakespeare to Australians from all walks of life, in every corner of this vast country.

It began with the staging of Hamlet in a circus tent in 1991, and a passion to see Shakespeare performed for Australians, by Australians.

Now, over 30 years later, by touring mainstage and education programs to every state in the country, on stages, in schools, community centres, juvenile justice centres and into regional and remote communities, Bell Shakespeare uses Shakespeare’s universal insights to bring inspiration and truth to audiences everywhere, of all ages and walks of life.

Today Bell Shakespeare enjoys the fruits of its labour: a history rich with legends of the stage; a national theatre education and community program with unequalled reach and impact; a creative development arm which ensures artistic vibrancy; and a loyal and passionate audience that has made the Company that began in a circus tent into a national icon.