With little more than an audacious idea, Bell Shakespeare began its remarkable journey in 1990. That idea? To create a theatre company dedicated to producing the plays of William Shakespeare in a way that was relevant and exciting to Australian audiences.
But in the process, Bell Shakespeare has gone further than its visionary founder John Bell could ever have hoped. It has, quite literally, become a brave teacher in the ‘school of life’. The stage has become the springboard from which the Company has dived into some extraordinary work.
Through incredible touring productions and education programmes, Bell Shakespeare is using Shakespeare’s universal insights to bring inspiration and truth to minds living in an uncertain world. And, of course, it is connecting beauty and art with imaginations of all ages.
Without the practical support of an enlightened philanthropist, the late Tony Gilbert AM, and a small number of imaginative corporate and private supporters, the original audacious idea might have remained just that. The help of these early contributors meant quite fundamentally that John Bell could mount productions and attract audiences. Because audiences liked what they saw, the Company quickly moved into a position of contributing to its own survival.
Now 20 years later, Bell Shakespeare enjoys the fruits of its labour: a history rich with legends of the stage; the establishment of our creative development arm, Mind’s Eye, which ensures our artistic vibrancy; theatre, education and community programmes characterised by unrivalled national reach and impact; and a loyal and passionate audience that has made the Company that began in a circus tent into a national icon.