Our Story


‘We know what we are, but know not what we may be’

Hamlet


VISION

We create theatre that allows audiences of all walks of life to see themselves reflected and transformed through the prism of great writing.

Founded in 1990 by John Bell AO and led by Artistic Director Peter Evans, Bell Shakespeare tours main stage and education programmes to every state in the country, on stages, in schools, community centres, juvenile justice centres and into regional and remote communities.

WE ARE BELL SHAKESPEARE

Shakespeare’s work explores human experience at its limits. It was never just meant to be read. We believe the only way to truly appreciate his work is to see it brought to life through live performance.

We believe Shakespeare and other great works are not stuck in the past, but that they are the key to exploring our present and imagining our future. We value the beauty of Shakespeare’s ideas, language and imagery. His work becomes our lens, helping us find modern perspectives on timeless truths.

These plays are not static. They’re constantly adapting, helping us make sense of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. And we’re not either. We’ve been travelling the country for more than 25 years, bringing classic theatre to Australia, looking for new ways to educate, collaborate and recreate.

Shakespeare and the other classic plays we present challenge our beliefs and urge us to see ourselves in a new light. Their ability to discover the things that make us human inspires us to make work that challenges preconceptions and encourages new interpretations and contemporary parallels — work that speaks to every age.

ARTISTIC PRINCIPLES

Shakespeare’s great works are not an end in themselves but a means by which we can explore our most heartfelt emotions and our collective aspirations.

We use these works to acknowledge our historical background and embrace our cultural future: to find the point at which our past and future intersect and to hold the gaze of this defining moment.

We are empowered to value the transcendent beauty and complexity of Shakespeare’s ideas, language and imagery: to identify the poetry of our times.

We believe Shakespeare is a vehicle for self-scrutiny and recognition: to make work that is of us, for us and about us.

The works enable us to challenge artistic conventions and test the elasticity of our practice.

We are committed to embodying the strongest social values in everything we do.

SHAKESPEARE’S LEGACY

Shakespeare’s writing challenges us to reach beyond our grasp and gives us the wherewithal to imagine our future. If we can learn anything from Shakespeare and the great writers of the past, it is that we hold within ourselves the power to make choices about who we want to be.

Bell Shakespeare believes that our greatest resource is our capacity to imagine and to transform: to picture a different world, to know that it can be one of our own making – and that we can be both its creator and a character within it.

SUSTAINABILITY


“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”

Troilus And Cressida


At Bell Shakespeare, we choose sustainable work practices across all aspects of the Company’s operations. As a national company constantly on the move, we are committed to assessing and reducing our carbon footprint with a firm vision for the future.

At our headquarters in Sydney’s historic Rocks, and with our land lord Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority,we ensure best possible practices are implemented in our offices and rehearsal/production premises. This includes energy reduction, responsible waste management and the use of green products within the office.

OUR AIMS ARE:

  • To assess and calculate our annual carbon footprint and reduce that footprint
  • To review our ways of communicating with our patrons and increase our electronic capacity including invitations, letters and newsletters
  • To use paper stock that is at least 50% recycled
  • To recycle and reuse existing sets, costumes and props where practical.
  • To create environmentally responsible theatre productions
  • To encourage and implement Company-wide behavioural change