Melbourne Theatre Company’s most ambitious production to date, Shakespeare in Love, will have its Australian premiere on Friday 19 July at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse, before going on to play at Canberra Theatre Centre from 22-31 August.

Director Simon Phillips has reunited with set and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova (Twelfth Night, Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical), whose intricate designs of 80 costumes are being crafted on site at MTC HQ by 40 wardrobe staff, including two bespoke shoemakers, two wig makers, two art finishers and two milliners. A dedicated team will make 30 Elizabethan ruffs by hand, each taking more than a day to craft, including one for a special canine castmember, Daisy, playing the role of Spot.

Tylesova’s stunning costumes will adorn Michael Wahr (Othello) as Will Shakespeare and Claire van der Boom (Double Indemnity) as Viola de Lesseps, as well as Aljin Abella (Aladdin), Luke Arnold (INXS: Never Tear Us Apart), Laurence Boxhall (Talking ‘Bout Your Generation), Tyler Coppin (Born Yesterday), Daniel Frederiksen (The Lady in the Van), Francis Greenslade (The Odd Couple), Peter Houghton (Three Little Words), John Leary (Glitch), Adam Murphy (His Girl Friday), Deidre Rubenstein (A Doll’s House, Part 2), Chris Ryan (Lazarus) and Aaron Tsindos (Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical).

Lee Hall’s (Billy Elliot) sparkling adaptation of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman’s Oscar-winning script will feature music by Paddy Cunneen performed live on stage by the ensemble.

Young Will Shakespeare has a bad case of writer’s block and desperately needs a muse. His new comedy, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter, is less than inspired and he’s running out of time to deliver his next masterpiece. That is until he meets Viola, and a real-life Romeo and Juliet story starts to take hold. But Viola has a secret and this damned Romeo play is turning out to be nothing like the comedy the Queen demanded.

July 15 – August 12