The West’s warm summer nights are set to become a lot hotter as Sly Rat Theatre Co. and their cohort descend on the picturesque riverbanks of the heritage listed Pipemaker’s Park in Maribyrnong later this month. Following on from the company’s hugely successful inaugural Shakespeare event last year, director Alan Chambers ( founder of the annual Shakespeare on the Maribyrnong River festival) is well on the way to achieving his ambitious vision of creating an annual event.
Last year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream played to over 2000 enthusiastic people over its six performance season. With The Tempest, the company hope to grow this unique outdoor, theatrical experience. “We are set to entertain, beguile, and mystify a whole new generation of folks in the Western suburbs,” says Chambers.
Chambers has held a long term passion for Shakespeare stating that it has been a big part of his training and development as a practitioner. Having played Puck in his first NIDA production, Shakespeare is something Chambers is always delighted to return to. “I love the rhythms, the eloquence, the depth, the characters and the passion of his words,” he says. Chambers is eager to share the company’s re-imagining of one of the ‘The Bard’s’ most enigmatic works.
Chambers and fellow co-director of Sly Rat Theatre, Andy Harmsen, have concocted a spectacular and utterly unique vision for The Tempest. Inspired by science-fiction classics, such as The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Planet of the Apes, the pair are bringing the spectacle of ballet, the tragedy of opera, the delight of clowns, and stunning visual effects to the production. According to Chambers, it promises to re-define what an outdoor Shakespeare event can be.
Chambers was initially prompted to flesh out the idea of an annual Shakespeare event following the momentum that Sly Rat Theatre had reached in 2015. His idea was to start a tradition for the western suburbs and his decision to take advantage of the largely underused location next to Pipe Makers Park has proven to be solid. The people of the West, and beyond, have embraced the concept with sponsors now endowing it with legitimacy and council offering full support.
Chambers and Harmsen have been heartened and humbled by local business support which includes Seddon Community Bank, Maribyrnong City Council, Bunnings, Melton Equestrian College, McManus Lawyers, Samson Bicycles, Littlefoot Bar and Biggins & Scott. Garnering business support for an indie project can often be time intensive and frustrating however, in this case, the persistence and pedigree of Sly Rat Theatre’s vision has been the catalyst tor a successful merging of the arts, business and community.
Performed at sunset on the beautiful banks of the Maribyrnong River, this FREE event is set to become one of the hottest dates on Melbourne’s summer arts calendar. Bring your picnic blanket and a hamper full of goodies. Lie back with friends and family to enjoy ‘The Bard’s’ mysterious, beguiling, epic fantasy. Shakespeare on the Maribyrnong River is perfect for the whole family!
This FREE event runs from February 17 – March 5 at The Living Museum of the West Pipemaker’s Park Maribyrnong 2 Van Ness Ave, Maribyrnong.