Shakespearean laughs to finish off summer


By Romy Stephens

The Summer Twilight Series at Cloudehill Gardens will come to an end this weekend as OZACT brings Shakespeare to the stage.

Celebrating 25 years of producing Shakespeare outdoors, the theatre company will return to Cloudehill to perform Twelfth Night.

It is a moving kaleidoscope of mistaken identities, larger than life characters, highly charged

situations, swashbuckling duels and flashing wit.

OZACT was founded over two decades ago by Bruce Widdop, who had a dream to combine Shakespeare’s greatest works with Australia’s love for the great outdoors.

“It started 25 years ago to make Shakespeare accessible, understandable and entertaining to Australian audiences particularly in Victoria and south eastern Australia,” Mr Widdop said.

“It’s to give people in regional areas the chance to experience Shakespeare.”

Mr Widdop said the company performs outdoors to create an informal, personal and interactive environment.

He added that it was an incredible feeling to have experienced so much success over the years.

“It’s very satisfying to hear the responses that are still so powerful after 25 years of performance, we manage to touch the hearts of many people,” he said.

“They keep coming back to our productions and bringing friends that haven’t seen our shows.

“It keeps getting more and more popular.”

OZACT has performed over 50 seasons of Shakespeare and over 400 performances in over 23 different locations.

This year marks the 11th year the company has been performing at Cloudehill Gardens.

Mr Widdop said the beautiful setting at Cloudehill makes for an incredible Shakespeare experience.

“It’s a fabulous garden setting. When we first started doing shows in garden settings they were to suit some of his (Shakespeare’s) mansion comedies that are set in mansion settings,” he said.

“Then we looked for appropriate garden settings because in fabulous garden settings you can believe that you’re at the homestead of a duke or countess as in Twelfth Night.

“So before the show at Cloudehill and after the show in the interval they (audiences) can wander about the whole garden and take in that as being part of the play.”

OZACT will perform Twelfth Night on 7 and 8 March from 5pm-8pm at Cloudehill Gardens, Olinda.

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