Poetry Sydney is an independent literary organisation committed to a presence for poetry in our culture.


Celebrate WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE at his place. WILL DO! 

Poetry Sydney presents an evening of poetry and performance in celebration of William Shakespeare
at the Shakespeare Hotel on Wednesday, 27 April 2022.

Photograph: Geoffrey Forrester AKA Tug Dumbly reciting Shakespeare in the Camperdown Cemetery, Newtown. Photograph by Marco Bok 2016, courtesy of the artist Tug Dumbly 2022.

Celebrate all things Shakespeare with all who share a passion for his work, his mind and his talent.  As a writer we may think Shakespeare to be courtly, cerebral, metaphysical, melancholic, Machiavellian, neurotic, light-hearted, loving and much more. However, as there are few factual things known about him we are in the curious position of compelling ourselves to adding to his portrait.

Known throughout the world, Shakespeare’s writings capture the range of human emotion and conflict and have been celebrated for more than 400 years, and yet his personal life is somewhat a mystery. No birth records exist, but an old church record indicates that he was baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 April 1564.

This is the eighth annual Sydney Shakespeare event that celebrates his life and work with performances, poetry and open readings. It is an inclusive community event and welcoming to all who share a passion for Shakespeare and would enjoy participating, being in the audience and being entertained.

Patricia Starrs performing Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Birthday 2021. Photography by Erjan Janousek, @Erjanfoto. All rights reserved.

The event will occupy four rooms on the first-floor of the Shakespeare Hotel, offering a speak-easy atmosphere with the interior design and architecture of the mid-eighteen hundreds.

Hosted by Tug Dumbly, a poet, performer, satirist, and singer, songwriter, who has worked extensively in live venues, schools, and radio.

The evening will feature a cast of celebratory performances that include original compositions on piano by celebrated musician Anton Koritni, ‘Shakespeare is a master of brevity. He condenses deep and complex sentiments into a handful of lyrics. In writing the music for these songs I have attempted to create an atmosphere that echoes the various sentiments of these exceptional poems that strike to the very core of the human condition’.  

Sydney based poet Richard James Allen will take centre stage, ‘William Shakespeare casts a long shadow over Western writers.  Like the big brother who sets the stage and who it is impossible ever to live up to.  You can see it in the number of his lines that have become titles for books or quotes within them.  As a poet interested in the lyrical, in the dramatic, and above all in the voice of interior consciousness, Shakespeare has been inescapable for me’.

Sonnets will be recited by Peter Whitehead, a traditional Czech puppetry performance of an adapted scene from Hamlet monologue Act 3 Scene 1, by award winning puppeteer Lenka Muchová. Playwright, director and performer Trisha Starrs of Starrs productions will perform Lady Macbeth. Well-known Sydney bard on his bass, John Maddox will play all sorts of bizzare and unique styles with many acts. Cabaret performance poet Lou Steer will surprise, and the Shakespeare trivia competition will be hosted by radio maker and poet Regina Botros. Dvd2u will present treated video of himself with quotes from several Shakespeare plays including King Lear and The Tempest.  There are more performance acts programmed including an open mic.

An open reading and open mic will be staged throughout the event. Registrations are encouraged to ensure a position. Email through your participation to mail@poetrysydney.org

Expect new experiences through poetry and performance in celebration of Shakespeare at his place.

WHAT: Will DO! Celebrating William Shakespeare
WHEN: 6.30pm doors open for 7.00pm – 10.00pm,  Wednesday 27 April 2022
WHERE: His place, Shakespeare Hotel, 200 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills NSW2010
TICKETS: $25, Bookings HERE

REGISTRATIONS: Open reading and mic registrations, email: mail@poetrysydney.org

Performance Program Highlights: Will Do! Celebrating William Shakespeare:

Richard James Allen and Shakespeare

As a poet interested in the lyrical, in the dramatic, and above all in the voice of interior consciousness, Shakespeare has been inescapable for me.  In this reading, I perform some of his extraordinary words that have continued to linger and some of my creative responses to them’, Richard James Allen.

Richard James Allen is an Australian poet and performance artist born in Kempsey, New South Wales, on the unceded lands of the Dunghutti People. Richard’s writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online, and he has been a popular reader at multiple performing arts venues, over many years. In 2021, his first novel, More Lies, was published by Interactive Press. In 2019, a collection of poetry, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing, and a suite of poems, Minimum Correct Dosage, was commissioned by Red Room Poetry.  Previous critically acclaimed books of poetry, fiction and performance texts include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger) and Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Well-known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (http://physicaltv.com.au/), and critically acclaimed as a performer in a range of media and contexts, Richard has a track record for innovative adaptations and interactions of poetry and other media, including collaborations with artists in dance, film, theatre, music and a range of digital platforms.  

Tug Dumbly (Emcee) is the pen and stage name of Geoff Forrester. He is a poet, performer, satirist, singer, songwriter and photographer. He has setup and ran the seminal spoken word night, Bardflys in Sydney. He has released two spoken word CDs, Junk Culture and Idiom Savant, through ABC. He has been awarded first prize in spoken word competitions across Australia. In 2020 he had two poems shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, for which he was also shortlisted in 2019. In 2020 he won the Borranga Poetry Prize, and was runner up in the WB Yeats Poetry Prize. In 2019 he was long listed (for the second time) for the Vice Chancellor’s Poetry Prize. In 2015 he came second in the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection, Son Songs, was published by Flying Islands Books in 2018.

Anton Koritni and Shakespeare

‘I have been setting poetry of all styles to music for over 20 years and have found working with Shakespearian text to be most rewarding and challenging. When composing accompanying music, I create a tonal atmosphere that aligns with the lyric and through the use of melodic syncopation, I endeavour to present the text in a modern, relatable way that is still in line with what The Bard intended’, Anton Koritni.

Anton Koritni was classically trained by a strict septegarian nun and notorious pipe smoking sixty year old with two glass eyes, Anton has always had a foot in rock-and-roll and classical music. His first rock band Senator, performed at the Semaphore Club at age fifteen. His professional career has been spent performing rock and pop music, but his true passion has always been for romantic and classical music. ‘Poetry on Piano’ is a concert of original music composed by Anton, and was his debut of signature music that intersperses anecdotal stories about the poets of his inspiration, William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Arthur Rimbaud and William Shakespeare. The production reveals his own creative process in narration between his compositions of poems set to music and transformed into songs, while others are transformed in to instrumental tone poems. Anton is working on a new production, Shakespeare on Piano that is anticipated in 2023.

Anton Koritni at the piano. A short performance of a selection of original compositions that will culminate in a production, Shakespeare on Piano next year. Photograph courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.

Trisha Starrs performs Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth in two monologues that explore desire and madness 

‘Between the performance of each monologue, I will give a small explanation of what the lines mean and how Lady Macbeth expresses the themes of the play as one of the witches from the play’, Trisha Starrs.

Trisha Starrs has worked over the last 30 years as a professional actress, children’s writer, producer and children’s performer. Trisha graduated from the Ensemble Theatre Acting course in 1987. She then established the very successful theatre company ‘Shakespeare where you like it’ which toured abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays in high schools throughout Australia. As an actress Trisha has performed in numerous plays as well as TV appearances. She was a founding member of the ‘Troubadour Theatre Company’ which has over the last twenty years performed countless plays and presentations in primary and high schools throughout Australia and New Zealand. Trisha is presently the artistic director of Starrs Productions and manages the company.

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