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Shakespeare in the Park eases Auckland audiences back into the live space this summer


The return to live theatre this summer is all about the outdoor experience with Shoreside Theatre bringing back Takapuna’s favourite summer tradition: Auckland Shakespeare in the Park 2022.

Following a sell-out 25th Anniversary Season in 2021, the Bard returns to the Shore as The Merchant of Venice and The Two Gentlemen of Verona play in repertory at The PumpHouse Theatre’s Outdoor Amphitheatre from 22 January – 19 February, with tickets now on sale.

Audiences are encouraged to make a night of it by bringing a picnic to enjoy in the park or visit The French Rendez-vous Restaurant onsite, before settling in for a night of laugh-out-loud drama.

This is the perfect opportunity to support Shoreside Theatre and chuckle along as balmy summer’s eves turn to star-filled nights in the idyllic Killarney Park on the shore of Lake Pupuke.

The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s best-known works, simultaneously celebrated for its bawdy humour and touching humanity.

Written between 1596 and 1599, it follows the trials of Antonio, an ill-fated merchant who, after defaulting on loans, finds himself in a sticky situation with Venetian moneylender Shylock, himself one of the Bard’s most iconic characters.

Replete with quick wit, puns aplenty and disguises, it’s not hard to see why director Trevor Sharp was eager to take on the challenge of getting this work on stage, sharing that “The Merchant of Venice is an archetypal Shakespearean comedy packed with romance, slapstick, pranks and intrigue – with moments of danger and serious comment. But we know, from the beginning that we can relax and enjoy because all will turn out well for the heroes in the end.”

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, widely thought to be Shakespeare’s first play, is also one of his least-performed.

Written between 1589 and 1593, it tells the tale of Valentine and Proteus, two men caught between love, duty and family, all while facing exile, outlaws and lovers in disguise.


Elements of this work would go on to appear time and time again in Bard’s works, eventually becoming Shakespearan hallmarks, including themes of friendship and infidelity, cases of mistaken identity, and heroines dressing as male as a survival tactic.

This opportunity to share this oft-overlooked work with audiences was a dream come true for director James Bell, who comments that  “Two Gentlemen of Verona is a fast-moving, funny play – it’s such a shame that it’s not presented more often.”

Auckland Shakespeare in the Park is the perfect summer’s eve treat for the whole whānau, and thanks to the generous sponsorship of Bayley’s Real Estate, Shoreside Shakespeare continues to offer children under 12 years of age a free ticket when accompanied by a paying adult.

After a successful pilot programme offering free children’s tickets in 2021, Shoreside Theatre saw an over 250 per cent increase in the number of children in attendance.

By continuing to offer this programme, Shoreside hopes to continue to inspire a love of live theatre and an appreciation of Shakespeare in the next generations.

The team at Shoreside Theatre are committed to ensuring that Shakespeare in the Park can go ahead safely in 2022.

If the season is interrupted by a Covid-19 lockdown and performances can’t go ahead, or a ticket holder is no longer able to attend, they will refund 100 per cent of the ticket price paid.

All Shoreside Theatre’s cast, crew and volunteers are vaccinated and will be adhering to Ministry of Health guidelines about hosting large events.

Please note that under current Covid-19 guidelines, to attend a performance at The PumpHouse, patrons will need to be able to show evidence that they are fully vaccinated.

Make your summer a Shakespearean one, all while supporting local performing arts to continue to thrive. For more information and to book tickets, visit online or follow Auckland Shakespeare in the Park on Facebook.

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