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

WILL DO! Celebrating William Shakespeare

Celebrating William Shakespeare on his Birthday.

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 ninth 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.

The event will occupy the ground and underground spaces at the legendary Kings Cross venue, El Rocco, offering a speak-easy atmosphere. Hosted by Tug Dumbly, a poet, performer, satirist, and singer, songwriter, who has worked extensively in live venues, schools, and radio.

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.


Tug Dumbly 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.

Photograph of Tug Dumbly at Camperdown Cemetery. Marco Bok.

Glen Phillips and Trisha Starrs will present a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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.

Video art by dvd2u. All rights reserved.
DATSON HUGHES @ WILL DO! DATSON HUGHES is a collaboration between sound artist, poet, songwriter and musician Geoffrey Datson and Annette Hughes, author, songwriter, musician and cultural producer. https://www.datsonhughes.com/
John Maddox @ WILL DO! He is a well known bass player from Sydney, has played for years with all sorts of musicians and styles, from jazz and beyond.
Peter Miller Robinson @ WILL DO! He is an award winning songwriter and guitarist based in Australia. He is a storyteller with a keen eye for the foibles and folly of human interaction.
Patricia Starrs @ WILL DO! Performing ~
Peter Whitehead @ WILL DO! He is an actor, theatre director, writer and dramaturg. He will be performing a scene from Hamlet.
Lou Steer is a cabaret poetry diva, performing her poetry directly to people in museums, nightclubs, festivals and even graveyards. Through poetry, she explores the lives of seekers and dreamers, yearning for something precious they have lost – love, purpose and truth. She has been writing poetry and performing as a slam poet and performance poet at festivals and other venues since 2010. She convened Caravan Slam, the largest poetry slam in inner Sydney, from 2015 to 2018. Lou’s poems are widely published and anthologised.
Award winning puppeteer Lenka Muchová will be presenting a scene from Hamlet, with Ophelia @ WILL DO!
John O'Driscoll @ WILL DO! Live art by accomplished visual artist. "I see: portraits; landscapes and scenes are like a mirror, but also a sponge. Memories," O'Driscoll. Image: Flying pieman at Since I Left You, pie in the sky poets.

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