PICTURED (L-R): Shakespeare Republic Season Two Ensemble Members – Billy Smedley, Wahibe Moussa, Michala Banas, Alan Fletcher, Christopher Kirby, Sally McLean, Nadine Garner, Shane Savage, Phoebe Anne Taylor, Falon Ryan and Stephen Costan. Photo by Cate O’Connor.

About Shakespeare Republic

Created by Australian actor, Sally McLean in 2015, Shakespeare Republic is an internationally award-winning, female-led and culturally diverse anthology series produced by Incognita Enterprises that celebrates not just the world’s greatest playwright, but also his insightful understanding of the big issues of his time. Insights that still hold relevance today and form the basis for a truly diverse, inventive and epic journey into the nature of being human.

Built on the premise of taking a selection of Shakespeare texts and making them more accessible to modern audiences by setting each piece in a contemporary situation, while playing with gender and embracing diversity, our first award-winning season in 2015 included Hamlet as Media Advisor to a Government Minister, Juliet as one half of a same-sex couple in a Skype conversation, Phebe as an entitled Gen Y drunk texting, Macbeth as a politician about to metaphorically knife an opponent, a female Hamlet weary from the corporate cut and thrust and a performance of Sonnet 18 as a eulogy.

In 2017 we returned with Season Two with thirteen more episodes with everything from Viola as inner-Melbourne hipster to Jaques as a melancholic barfly to Katherina as an ambitious politician’s wife to Henry V as a member of a laser strike team – and everything in-between!

in 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Season Three of Shakespeare Republic was produced entirely in lockdown, working remotely with 24 actors based in Australia, the UK and USA, exploring the idea of Shakespeare’s characters in lockdown around the world. That season went on to be named “The Most Awarded Anthology Series” of 2021, and was listed in the Top 3 web series in Australia for that year, according to the amount of awards and nominations it received on the global festival circuit (WSWC, 2021).

The crème de la crème of Australian web series

“… polished, beautifully made series from director/producer Sally McLean … a fine use of the platform and, more importantly, a very fine adaptation of the Bard … Shakespeare Republic is put together with grace and wit. An assortment of actors do terrific work making the (non-dumbed down) dialogue accessible, prying it open with great care and skill.”

Nadine Garner as “Viola” (Season Two)
Michala Banas as “Hamlet” in Season Two

Brainchild of award-winning Director/Producer, Sally McLean, with a highly experienced crew carrying a combined total of over 170 professional credits to their names, Shakespeare Republic has now been officially selected for over 100 international film festivals, nominated over 90 times and won over 50 awards to date, and is an innovative and exciting ride through the works of William Shakespeare, featuring an international cast and a lot of love for the Bard.

We delved into the world of film, producing our first commissioned short film project Speaking Daggers, co-produced with Independent Schools Victoria for the inaugural Arts Learning Festival in Melbourne in 2017, which made it’s Australian premiere at the Academy Award accredited St Kilda Film Festival as an Official Selection, winning 3 awards, as well as a “Highly Commended” Finalist nod from Sir Kenneth Branagh in his role as Jury President for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Shakespeare Film Festival in the UK in 2017 and was officially selected by twenty one festivals on the international film festival circuit.

Christopher Kirby as “Sir Thomas More” in Season Two

Creative and entertaining

“… taking the world by storm, done in an inventive, captivating way … the entire series is astonishingly smart.”

Shakespeare Republic has been the subject of several academic presentations and plenary panels at Early Modern Literature and Shakespeare seminars and conferences in Australia, the UK and USA from 2016 to now. Shakespeare Republic creator/director, Sally McLean’s first published work on Shakespeare, an essay exploring her methodology behind Shakespeare Republic and Shakespeare performance in general, was published in the UK by Routledge Press in 2020 as part of the academic essay collection, Playfulness In Shakespearean Adaptations edited by Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie.

A slightly modern twist

“… a sophisticated twenty-first century series with its own particularly Australian flavour.”

Sally McLean as “Beatrice” in Season Two

The third season of Shakespeare Republic is currently being taught at Syracuse University, USA, has been discussed in papers presented at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference (USA) and BritGrad Conference (UK) and is also further explored in the Arden Shakespeare collection, Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions in Performance and Adaptation edited by Gemma Kate Allred, Benjamin Broadribb and Erin Sullivan, published in July 2022.

Dean Haglund as “Iago” in Season Two

A huge year for Shakespeare Republic

“… beautifully produced soliloquies from Shakespeare’s most famous characters, interpreted by a wide range of talented actors.”

Sally McLean is also faculty at the renowned Howard Fine Acting Studio Australia as a Guest Industry Teacher, teaching, of course, Shakespeare. As a result of that work, she is also the creator/director of the student version of Shakespeare Republic, Walking Shadows, commissioned by the Howard Fine Acting Studio and featuring their graduating full time drama students. That series is now in it’s second season, with the third season currently in development, to be filmed in November 2023.

A gem of a “different drama”

Shakespeare Republic (2015) is a superb collection of Shakespearean texts delivered by Australian actors in contemporary situations.”

Tariro Mavondo as “Cleopatra” in Season Two

Next on our creative agenda is our mini-series, Dark Arcadia and Season Four of the main series, which is in final development and takes the work in a different direction again, still maintaining the female perspective and the modern settings and remaining unbound by gender or race.

Shakespeare Republic

“… incredibly clever and highly addictive …”

For more about the series, visit the official site here: http://www.shakespearerepublic.com