Shakespeare in the Park: The Tempest at Araluen in Western Australia

SHAKESPEARE returns to Araluen Botanic Park this November with Roleystone Theatre’s production of The Tempest.

Directed by Paul Treasure, the story follows the King of Naples and his closest advisers after being shipwrecked on a strange island ruled by the powerful sorcerer Prospero.

Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been the only human inhabitants for years, sharing it with other spirits and monsters.

But the shipwreck was no accident – Prospero is the former Duke of Milan, who was deposed with the King of Naples’ help – and he may have revenge on his mind.

Paul has opted for a modern setting, given there are several small references throughout the play that resonate with the world of 1960s American TV and surf culture.

“A lot of the costumes have been inspired and influenced by shows such as Gilligan’s Island and Gidget,” he said.

“It’s a show full of magic and wonder and the temptation when performing the play in a theatre is to cram it full of special effects.

“But given we’re performing outside, we don’t have the ability to produce any kind of special effects, so we have to try and makes things as interesting as possible within our limited technical possibilities.

“One example is the first scene of the play, which is famously set on board a ship in the middle of a fierce storm.

“That’s something we have to replicate without using any sort of mood lighting or projection.”

Acting for more than 30 years, Paul has performed in most of Perth’s theatres – mainly with Roleystone, Kwinana and Marloo Theatres and the Mandurah Performing and Koorliny Arts Centres.

He has numerous acting awards and nominations to his credit, including a 2014 Finley Award for best actor in a musical for his role as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof with Murray Music and Drama.

These days, Paul divides his time between directing Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA productions at the Dolphin Theatre and outdoor Shakespeare performances at Araluen.

“Having directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream two years ago, I was interested in playing with The Tempest, which is Shakespeare’s other great magical play,” he said.

“The Tempest has some of my all-time favourite Shakespearean characters in it, including the sorcerer Prospero, much-maligned ‘monster’ Caliban, ridiculously drunk Stephanio and Trinculo and the brutally quick-witted Sebastian and Antonio.”

The Tempest plays at 4pm November 12, 13, 19 and 20. Tickets are $25, $20 concession and $10 children – book at (ticket price includes entry to Araluen).

Patrons are advised to bring a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent and picnic blanket or low chair. BYO alcohol is permitted and light refreshments will be available from the theatre kiosk.

Araluen Botanic Park is at 362 Croyden Road, Roleystone.