Abbie-lee Lewis

Actor, Director, Teaching Artist

We put Shakespeare’s work on a high pedestal but when you look at the stories, they are messy – life is messy. 

For a long time, my favourite Shakespeare play was Romeo and Juliet because I could connect to it as a young woman. Now, I am drawn to plays like Titus Andronicus because of the gore and the mess. Without looking at the mess of life, you can’t appreciate the beauty.

I auditioned for The Players (Bell Shakespeare’s in-schools program) three times before I was accepted. When I got the phone call, I was ecstatic! Being a part of The Players is like doing a master’s degree in Shakespeare.

It’s an incredible privilege to go into a school and use Shakespeare’s works as a tool to explore and encourage these kids to use their imaginations for bigger, better, and more hopeful things.

Performing in Moree, NSW was a huge moment for me because for the first time I understood my obligation as an Indigenous person performing Shakespeare. To be able to play Juliet – such a beautiful, strong character – I realised I have a responsibility to change perceptions about who can perform these roles.

We need Shakespeare. Now more than ever. His words are an expression of our common humanity, his stories are a beacon of generosity, his characters are us. Help us continue our crucial work. If you can, please donate now – together, we can shine brighter than ever before.