Jacob Warner

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My first experience with Bell Shakespeare was when the company toured to my hometown, Shepparton, in northern Victoria. It was the first time I’d ever seen a professional show. Afterwards, I turned to my dad and said “That’s what I want to do.”

I keep coming back to Bell Shakespeare, because it feels like I’m a part of a larger theatre history. Before I go on stage every night, I think to myself, that for over 400 years actors have been waiting in the wings to say these words. Shakespeare’s work isn’t just a museum piece that we perform because it’s old. But there is something special about carrying a baton that has been passed on for centuries.

Since I started working with Bell Shakespeare, I’ve performed in two national tours, which was so special for me, because without the national tour, I don’t think I’d be an actor today. A professional theatre company coming to a country town is huge. Everyone knows that the company is there, and everyone is excited. I think it’s vital that those kids get to see what a professional theatre company can do. For me, it made a dream a tangible reality.

Being back in the theatre after two years of Covid feels like coming home. For me the theatre is almost church like. It’s such a special a place where people can come together. And you can tell the audience feels the same way. When we were touring A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year, we got to perform in Launceston, Tasmania. It’s a big theatre in Launceston, and it was sold out over all three levels, right up to the rafters.

I had family members in the audience who said they thought that we had paid the audience to laugh because their reaction was so huge. I think what we were experiencing was an audience who had missed out on theatre for two years. We felt acutely how wanted we were. How essential theatre was to this community.

To support Bell Shakespeare, you can donate online or contact our Philanthropy Team via email or phone at 02 8298 9083.