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Shakespeare returns to the Assembly Rooms for International Women’s Day

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“Durham University Classical Theatre are so excited to present Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure,” said Society President, Julia Kennerley. “Producing Twelfth Night last year was an incredibly proud moment for us, and we hope audiences return to see what we have been working on this year.”

Measure for Measure dives into a vice-ridden Vienna ruled by an iron fist by a moralistic dictator. It heavily focuses on the stories of the women torn from their hopes and virtue and placed into morally wrought situations as they struggle under the dilemmas of mercy versus justice, and power versus truth. In part dark comedy, in part tragic problem play, Measure for Measure displays a very different side of Shakespeare to Twelfth Night.

Durham University Classical Theatre have been performing an annual Shakespeare for decades, usually at the Assembly Rooms, not even stopping during the pandemic with their recorded production of Macbeth receiving rave reviews. Last year’s production of Twelfth Night was a particular success, selling out its entire run and offering live music and dance alongside traditional Elizabethan costume and theatrical experience.

Ellen Olley, former President of Durham University Classical Theatre, now Theatre Development Coordinator at Durham University said:

It is fantastic to have DUCT back in the Assembly Rooms again. Their ambition for the scale of this project in both striking visuals and acting quality is always great to see.

The production also coincides with the arts’ wider focus on the issue of women’s rights, with International Women’s Day taking place this month. The directors of the show intend to recentre the action of the play onto the women caught up in the fates and reaction of the narrative, and present them as the main characters with lives as complex and nuanced as the men around them.

The production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is just one performance in a very busy programme of performing arts at the University. With around 150 productions over the course of the academic year in everything from symphonic repertoire to contemporary devised theatre, there are performances almost every night of the year.

Measure for Measure, performed by Durham University Classical Theatre, will be showing at the Sir Thomas Allen Assembly Rooms Theatre from Wednesday 13 – Friday 15 March at 7.30pm each night. For more information and to book your seat, please visit the theatre website.



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