Twenty four actors from six cities around the world have been working remotely via the internet since April with Melbourne actor/director, Sally McLean, rehearsing and filming the latest season of her internationally award-winning web series,
The Shakespeare Republic series began in 2015 and previous episodes have featured many of Australia’s favourite actors including Nadine Garner, Michala Banas, Alan Fletcher and Christopher Kirby.
The first two seasons of Shakespeare Republic have been officially selected and screened at over 80 international film festivals and won over 30 awards from over 70 nominations to date including Best Director, Best Web Series and Best Ensemble Cast in numerous festivals and industry awards around the world. A highlight was being the recipient of the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Digital Series in the USA in 2017, which saw creator/director Sally McLean join the ranks of fellow CINE alumni such as Steven Spielberg (the then CINE President) Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jim Henson, Mike Nichols, Robert Altman, Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro and Sydney Pollack, among others. Fellow award-winners that year were Christian Slater for Mr Robot, National Geographic’s MARS & Variety’s Actors On Actors. The series was also included in the official National Film & Sound Archive Collection in 2019 with an individual mention as an acquisition highlight in their 2018-2019 annual report.
This new season of the work features professional actors based in Australia, the US & UK, with credits from Broadway, the West End, The Globe Theatre in London and Shakespeare in the Park (New York), as well as roles in mainstream film & TV such as the Star Wars franchise, The Matrix trilogy, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Star Trek, Fear The Walking Dead, Animal Kingdom, The Romanoffs, Criminal Minds, Seinfeld, Carnivale, Coronation Street, Doctors, Romper Stomper, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, American Horror Story, Charlotte’s Web, The Leftovers and Twin Peaks, among many others – and was created in response to the sudden closure of the entertainment industry around the world in March this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In keeping with Shakespeare Republic’s penchant for bringing Shakespeare into the 21st century, this new stand-alone season of the series places Shakespeare’s characters firmly in the middle of the 2020 pandemic, exploring a range of human experiences that currently connect us despite our physical separation – all using Shakespeare’s original text.
Over 100 actors applied to be in the new season, from Europe, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and the entire process has been done remotely via the internet – from the initial audition phase, to rehearsals, to filming, to post-production. McLean also wrote a 30 page technical bible for the actors, so they had easy reference how-to guides for camera set up, lighting, sound, production design, etc.
Rehearsals were fairly straightforward using the Zoom platform, but due to McLean also being her own crew, filming involved her not just directing her actors, but also helping them problem-solve on the shoot day when something went technically wrong with their phone camera – or the next-door neighbour decided to use their leaf blower, causing sound issues.
The new season premiered on August 7 and already has just over 20,000 views across the first six released episodes. There are 24 episodes in total that will release between now and November.
All current episodes are available to view on the official Facebook Series page here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/ShakespeareRepublic/2874385505999584/
Official sites for more information:
Project Official Website: www.allthewebsastage.com | Shakespeare Republic Official Website: www.shakespearerepublic.com