Lakespeare is an independent theatre company dedicated to making theatre accessible to Canberrans. Each summer it produces Shakespeare by the Lakes, a free summer season of Shakespeare performances in Canberra’s open spaces. (Lakespeare is working towards Shakespeare by the Lakes becoming an official fixture in Canberra’s event calendar.)
Lakespeare has also produced a number of boutique shows such as Shakespeare Down the Pub (various pubs/cafes around CBR), Sounds of Shakespeare (2018) in the Botanic Gardens, and performed at several corporate dinners.
The free shows are the motivation and highlight of Shakespeare by the Lakes. Lakespeare has aspirations to hold them in many more parks and open spaces around Canberra.
However, performances that are free to attend are not free to produce. Lakespeare is only able to produce our free performances with the support of a few loyal sponsors, audience donations and occasional grants.
Lakespeare has no recurrent funding. So every year we have to ask for sponsorship and apply for grants to put on these free performances. The season, therefore, adjusts to financial support.
Lakespeare believes that live theatre is an exhilarating, shared experience. We make theatre accessible by bringing the experience and language right to you. Due to our free performances, audiences get an insight into Shakespeare they’ve never had before. They are surprised and delighted that something 400 years old can be this fresh and fun.
Our team has now completed three seasons of high-quality free Shakespeare and provided events which appeal to all ages. Our success to-date is not by accident. Under the tutelage of our Artistic leads, we have followed the production model of New York’s Shakespeare in the Park and train our actors to the performance model and standard of London’s Globe. This enables the poetry and prose of Shakespeare to be understood by audience members of all ages.
Lakespeare & Co. is committed to (its small part) in developing the creative community in Canberra. It provides enhanced support to emerging artists during productions and holds acting Masterclasses and Shakespearean verse classes to develop performers.
Our core committee consists of Mr Taimus Werner-Gibbings, Ms Katerina Smalley and Mr Paul Leverenz. Dr Duncan Driver is a Shakespeare Scholar and academic at the University of Canberra and is also our Artistic Advisor.
Media – Andrew Bell
Event Operations Manager (contact for vendors and Access CBR) – Cathy Day
Production Management and Support – Heidi Silberman
Those familiar with theatre will know that no production occurs without the input of dozens of people – too many to acknowledge here. The real heroes are our creatives, performers and volunteers who band together to contribute each year. They will all be acknowledged in our ‘Current Production’ and “Past Events” sections, where we are in the process of converting our e-Programs to a record of each production.
Lakespeare was founded in 2017, by Taimus Werner-Gibbings, Lexi Sekuless, Dr Duncan Driver and Paul Leverenz.
SHAKESPEARE BY THE LAKES
SBTL I was a season of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ held in Tuggeranong Town Park, Glebe Park in Civic and QEII Park in Queanbeyan in February 2018 to over 4,200 people.
SBTL II was a season of ‘Twelfth Night’ performed to over 5,000 members of the Capital Region public. We returned to Tuggeranong Town Park and Glebe Park while also adding the Patrick White Lawns in front of the National Library of Australia.
In 2019, we opened the season at the Lanyon Homestead for our first boutique, ticketed performance. This stunning premiere was supported by ACT Historic Places. In addition, we trialled Shakespeare Down the Pub at the George Harcourt Inn and this was a raging success.
SBTL III featured ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ which was seen by over 5200 people. In addition, our first year of “Shakespeare by the Vines” at Pialligo was a raging success with full houses and appreciative audiences.
Due to COVID, we were not able to produce SBTL IV in 2021- that will occur in 2022. Instead, with the support of local Canberra artists, we were able to produce a cabaret show “Songs and Sonnets”.
Unfortunately due to COVID, a planned 2021 Winter show of Richard III was deferred. It was reborn in August as Rockspeare, a rock-influenced version that was live-streamed.
The company began our corporate event series in late 2018 with a bespoke performance at the Canberra Business Chamber Gala Dinner. This was continued in 2019 with a more intimate evening performance at the National Museum. Lakespeare & Co. has also performed Sounds of Shakespeare bespoke performances at the 2018 Sounds of Summer festival in the Botanic Gardens and recently at ANU in November 2019.