To boldly go where no Shakespearean theatre has gone before

Streamed Shakespeare began as a response to Covid-19 and has now become a genre in its own right. When all the world’s stages became no-go zones, this troupe of determined thespians went virtual and garnered a whole new audience, writes Rita Bratovich.

After a successful series of live online readings and improvised performances of the Bard’s plays, Sydney-based collective Streamed Shakespeare is about to embark on its greatest enterprise yet – a high-tech, sci-fi cross-over production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. 

The company is a loose collective of actors, composers, designers, digital technicians and whoever else has the will and talent to get involved. Actors from all around the country take part in the live-streamed productions. For the Henrys, the team will be joined by composer Paul Bremen from Cologne, Germany and content designer Camille Tovee from Nanaimo, Canada. 

Before the ink was fully dry on his manuscripts, and ever since, Shakespeare’s plays have been performed in numerous variations, settings, and adaptations, and have stood the test of time. The Streamed Shakespeare version of Henry IV is set in the 25th century in outer space, with a cast of merchandisable characters. Director Haki Pepo Olu Crisden took his inspiration from what he describes as “space opera” shows and films like Star Wars and Star Trek.

The heroic battles, power struggles, complex relationships and moral dilemmas of Henry IV present the perfect template for a futuristic space epic.  

“The question of how one becomes a great leader is as relevant now as it was in Shakespeare’s day and, no doubt, humans will still be seeking the answer in the 25th century, when our production is set. We are using animated visual environments and an inspired orchestral score to create a living, breathing intergalactic community in which the actors will tell this timeless story,” says the director. 

Henry IV, Part 1 is on the school HSC syllabus this year and this cyber-fused version of the play is the perfect vehicle for delivering the 420-year-old work to a young, technology driven audience.

The performances will be live-streamed on Youtube with ticketed access. Parts 1 and 2 are separate shows. Tickets can be purchased for either, or for both at a discounted price. 

Performance dates are:

HENRY IV PART ONE: FRIDAY 16 APRIL, 7 PM AEST (PREMIERE)

HENRY IV PART ONE: SATURDAY 17 APRIL, 2 PM AEST

HENRY IV PART TWO: SATURDAY 17 APRIL, 7 PM AEST (PREMIERE)

HENRY IV PART TWO: SUNDAY 18 APRIL, 2 PM AEST

HENRY IV PART ONE: FRIDAY 23 APRIL, 11:45 AM AEST (SCHOOL MATINEE + Q&A – OPEN TO PUBLIC)

HENRY IV PART TWO: SATURDAY 24 APRIL, 7 PM AEST

For more information and to book tickets, visit streamedshakespeare.com.