Artes Christi to bring Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the stage next month

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A Catholic arts company will mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in a way that would have done him proud: by staging a production of his towering epic, Hamlet.

Artes Christi will stage the play, formally titled The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, at the Seymour Centre in Chippendale, with a strictly limited season of performances from 14-15 October in the 780 seat York Theatre.

Believed to have been written around 1600, the play maps the tortured moral universe of the young prince of Denmark after he is confronted by the ghost of his murdered father.

Hamlet wrestles with the mechanics and morality of executing the ghost’s command, to avenge his treacherous death by killing Hamlet’s uncle and the now King – Claudius.

The play is directed by Sydney actor and musician Eugene Raggio with the title role to be played by long-time Artes Christi actor and philosophy lecturer Jeremy Bell, whose other roles with the company include Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons and Oscar Wilde’s Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Mr Bell is one of an epic cast of more than 35, including UK actress and ACU graduate Kate Parker Frost as Gertrude, Paul Kennedy as Claudius, Gordon Costello as Polonius, Jeremy Ambrose as Horatio, and Prudence Robinson Foxe as Ophelia.

“We’re trying to move it into less of a strictly domestic drama” said director Eugene Raggio. “It has always been perceived as a strongly political and religious play especially in Eastern Europe and Asia.

“The stakes are high in any presentation of Hamlet – indeed it is almost a sacred text of Shakespeare.”

To help support emerging artists, for the Saturday 2pm performance, two outstanding young actors Andrew Cougle and Alethea Jackson will also perform the roles of Hamlet and Ophelia respectively.

Artes Christi will stage Shakespeare’s Hamlet, produced by Anthony McCarthy, at the Seymour Centre from 14-15 October. Tickets from $35 ($30 concession). Family and group discounts also available. Book online at theword.org.au.

Win a double pass to see Hamlet

The Catholic Weekly, in partnership with Artes Christi, is offering readers the chance to win one of 10 double passes to The Tragedy of HAMLET, Prince of Denmark. The lucky winners will attend the 2pm matinee performance at the Seymour Centre on Saturday, October 15, starring Andrew Cougle as Hamlet. To enter phone (02) 9390 5413 and leave a message with your name and phone number, or email your details to [email protected]Entries close 5pm, Friday, 7 October. Winners will be drawn on Monday, 10 October and can collect double passes (valued at $70 each) from the box office.

Related: 400 years of Shakespeare, but was he Catholic? That’s the question