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Sydney Shakespeare Festival debut's with Much Ado About Nothing

A new annual outdoor festival has hit Sydney's inner west. The 2008 Sydney Shakespeare Festival kicks off in January with Much Ado About Nothing, a boisterous celebration of love as well as a sobering examination of misinterpretation, dishonesty and deception. The festival is on at 8pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 January until 17 February 2008 in Bicentennial Park, Glebe Foreshore. The festival is FREE for children 12 years and under, people with disabilities and people aged 65 years and over. For the first two weeks of the festival only, for every ticket purchased, the second ticket is FREE. 10% of every ticket sold throughout the festival will be donated to the Millennium Foundation for HIV Research.

Much Ado About Nothing is loaded with mismatched lovers, squabbling brothers, comic constables and bawdy humor. Young lovers Hero and Claudio are to be married in a week. To pass the time they conspire with Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, to set a 'lovers’ trap' for Benedick, a self-confessed 'tyrant to women', and the independent and forthright Beatrice, his favourite sparring partner. Meanwhile, Don Pedro's half-brother, the devious Don John, conspires to break up the wedding. Rapier wit and cutting observation; lies, laughter and love with a stiff dose of betrayal. Such is the emotional arsenal deployed for Shakespeare's strategic guide to the war between the sexes.

Sponsored by the City of Sydney council, Sydney Shakespeare Festival is a newly formed not-for-profit annual outdoor festival. "Outdoor theatre is the most magical, accessible and historical performance style," said David Jeffrey, co-founder of the festival. "Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a picnic and the magic of Shakespeare, all while taking in the spectacular views from the park of Sydney Harbour, the Anzac Bridge and the Sydney City skyline, is a great way to spend a summer evening."

Sydney Shakespeare Festival proudly supports the Millennium Foundation and will donate 10% of every ticket sold to HIV Research. "We are thrilled to be associated with Sydney Shakespeare Festival," said Kylie Strudwick, Marketing Manager, The Millennium Foundation. "Even though 39.5 million people across the globe have the virus, HIV research does not receive the fund raising attention and awareness it deserves."

The annual Sydney Shakespeare Festival will feature the works of William Shakespeare and in time will include other contemporary classics. "Shakespeare's plays have captured the imagination of millions of people throughout the world for over 400 years and are as exciting and provocative now as the day they were written," noted Julie Baz, Artistic Director and co-founder of the festival.

The 2008 Sydney Shakespeare Festival is on at 8pm (front of house opens at 7pm) every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Friday 11 January until Sunday 17 February in Bicentennial Park, Glebe Foreshore. For all the information you need to know about the festival and to book tickets online visit the website: http://www.sydneyshakespearefestival.com.au

Festival Details

2008 Festival: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Director: Julie Baz

Designer: David Jeffrey

Production Manager: Kylie Strudwick

Lighting & Sound: Bradley Linney

Cast: Martin Bell, Jennifer Davis, Kurtis Gee, Penny Hall, Richard Hilliar, Shane Imbert, David Jeffrey, Cherilyn Price, Roger Adam Smith, Matthew Stewart, Deborah Thomson

Dates: 8pm (front of house opens at 7pm) Fri, Sat, Sun, 11 Jan – 17 Feb 2008

Venue: Bicentennial Park, Glebe Foreshore

Ticket Prices: *$25 full, *$20 concession, FREE children 12 years and under, FREE people with disabilities, FREE people 65 years and over
*10% of every ticket sold will be donated to the Millennium Foundation for HIV research and for the first two weeks only, for every ticket purchased, the second ticket is FREE

Bookings: To book tickets online visit: http://www.sydneyshakespearefestival.com.au
Tickets will also be available at the door (cash only) from 7pm

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