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Manawatu River becomes a Shakespearean backdrop

Director Sara Brodie is bringing a bit of wild to Summer Shakespeare 2017, with the Manawatu River as a backdrop and all sorts of surprises planned.

In her position as the artist in residence at Massey University, the Kapiti-based director and choreographer has chosen The Winter’s Tale as her play.

“It’s comic and tragic and I want to evoke a winter’s night and the fantastic tale element of it as much as possible.”

A stretch of Palmerston North’s Esplanade river walkway will be the stage for the open theatre piece, and Brodie said all sorts of things become possible in such a setting.

“When the audience actually come along here it will all be set up like a mid-winter fair with braziers, bunting, food stories and fire poi. We enter into the court scenes first where the jealous ravings of King Leontes start.”

Brodie is no stranger to staging outdoor events and said the “happy accidents” that occur are one of the best elements.

“Beautiful sunsets or wind at just the right moment. Those sort of things that really add to the experience for people. This will be like going into the fantastical wilds.”

The annual event is in it’s 14th year and will be drawing on Palmerston North’s non-professional theatre community for the production that will be held next March.

A workshop will be held at 10am on Saturday at Massey University’s Sir Geoffrey Peren Building, which Brodie said will give people an idea of the process.

“It’s for anyone who is interested to come along to meet me and to hear about the production and see some concept imagery around it. We will talk about the story and get our teeth into some of the text and some exercises to have some fun with it.”

Formal auditions for The Winter’s Tale will be held at the end of November and as well as actors and dancers, Brodie is also on the look out for production behind-the-scenes people.


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