Festival information

January 9, 2016 to January 24, 2016

Outdoor Summer Season 7


Romantic comedy should exist on the edge of riot and ruin and no two poets put a finer twist on love’s torture that Shakespeare and Wilde.
Join us for an all-inclusive period-dress garden party on the lawns of history with croquet, badminton, cricket and less serious games, (and a poet’s theatrical work of genius thrown in for good measure) – gates open an hour before-hand and tea and tantrums are compulsory. Let the games begin…
The rules of love and marriage have never been more culturally controversial than they are right now in Australia – our hearts, homes and bedrooms have never been more political spaces as the world argues to redefine for whom love and marriage are permitted. What is socially acceptable?  What is legal? What is love worth in the collective conscience? For all the effort, sweat and expense of romance, love’s labour is truly won by so few of us in the end, some through bad luck or judgement, and too many through prejudice.
A double bill of complete comedy, of riot and romance, of men behaving badly and women winning the day, with a swift kick up the backside for a culture that is still discussing the rights and rules of marriage equality centuries after our greatest poets and players shot Cupid’s arrows right back at him.
A new outdoor adventure from the company that gave you The Crucible, Cyrano de Bergerac, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado and the Shipwreck Season, celebrating 7 years under the stars with our wonderful audiences.
The Importance of Being Earnest – by Oscar Wilde
The deep wishes of Oscar Wilde’s heart saw him crushed by the puritanical machine in his own lifetime but his razor sharp satirical comedies cut the age down to size, exposing the trivialities and artificial rituals of a culture that creates forms and rules around the most natural thing on earth - love. Earnest blows a glorious bubble around heterosexual or ‘normal’ relationships and lets it burst, celebrating and lambasting the earnest silliness of marriage between a man and a woman.
Don’t we wish we all had two names – one for the ‘town’, one for the ‘country’, one where we hide and one where we come out to play. Earnest is a play about identity, what we call our selves in public and in private. Two men live the social norm on the exterior, fighting for the name that proves them ‘earnest’ while their secret lives of “Bunburyism” hold the key to life’s true mystery – happiness. The result is one of the world’s most perfect comedies, given a vigorous outdoor life in the glorious surrounds of Bella Vista Farm and Leura Everglades Gardens.

Directed by Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas
Stage Design by Anna Gardiner and Damien Ryan
Costume Design by Anna Gardiner
Lighting Design by Sian James-Holland
Sound Design by David Stalley
Featuring Deborah Kennedy as Lady Bracknell with Claire Lovering, Eloise Winestock, Aaron Tsindos, Scott Sheridan and Wendy Strehlow.


The Importance of Being Earnest, By Oscar Wilde

Performance Dates... January 10th @7.00pm, 16th @2.45pm, 17th @7.00pm, 22nd @7.00pm, 23rd @7.00pm, 24th @2.45pm

Tickets on sale here


Love’s Labour’s Lost – by William Shakespeare
Hundreds of years before Wilde, Shakespeare was in the midst of a wild, rule-breaking love triangle of his own if we are to believe his sonnets. He wrote his most original comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost, in the same period that produced his incredible outpouring of Sonnets, a tangled web of hetero-and-homo-sexual passion, pain and laughter. No play is more demonstrative of Shakespeare’s art and language than this one, and none closer to the true heart of his poetry.
Four young men and four young women take to romance like hunters to their prey in this dazzling comedy that subverts the ‘Hollywood ending’ hundreds of years before Hollywood dreamt of it.
The company who rescued All’s Well That Ends Well from obscurity unmasks another hidden Shakespeare gem. Love’s Labour’s Lost is as funny and inspiring as Shakespeare gets and in this new adaptation from Damien Ryan, Sport for Jove gives you the rare treat of a full Elizabethan period setting on the big, brand-new mainstage at Bella Vista.

Directed by Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas
Stage Design by Anna Gardiner and Damien Ryan
Costume Design by Melanie Liertz
Lighting Design by Sian James-Holland
Sound Design by David Stalley
Featuring Emily Eskell, Sabryna Te'o, Tim Walter, Berynn Schwerdt, Madeleine Jones, Lara Schwerdt, Curtis Fernandez & George Banders

Shakespearealism – by Josh Lawson
Completing the hilarious festivities in this year’s summer season is the brilliant short one-act comedy, Shakespearealism, by acclaimed Australian actor, writer and film director Josh Lawson.
It’s 1594. Shakespeare’s lesser known brother, Ralph Shakespeare is a playwright is his own right, but centuries ahead of his time. Introducing ‘realism’ to Shakespeare’s acting company and audience was always going to be a challenge, with its psychological detail, it’s pauses and silences, its nuanced subtext and stilted natural dialogue that holds a much truer “mirror up to nature” than his famous brother’s work. But Ralph is not only in his brother’s overwhelming shadow and dealing with actors used to poetic blank verse where they say everything they feel out loud, but he is also up against the promoter / producer too – the great Phillip Henslowe, the man who managed, bought and sold many of Will Shakespeare’s greatest plays in the 1590s.
The players at the Rose Theatre are about to stage their evening performance of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost when Ralph has a private meeting with two actors to work on his latest script.
The play is a comic masterpiece and a searing satire on the way writing has evolved in the centuries since Shakespeare’s poetry rewrote the rule book. It plays as a bonus curtain raiser to Love’s Labour’s Lost throughout the festival season. Don’t miss it.

Directed by Lizzie Schebesta
Featuring Gabrielle Scawthorne, James Lugton, Aaron Tsindos & Ed Lembke-Hogan

Love's Labour Lost, with curtain raiser Shakespearealism

Performance Dates... January 9th @6.15pm, 15th @6.15pm, 16th @6.15pm, 23rd @2.45pm, 24th @6.15pm

Tickets on sale here


For more information on Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park Festival options click here.



The audience will be seated on a grass area in the Everglades Garden, with space for people to either picnic on their own mats/blankets or seated in chairs during the performance.  All attempts will be made to arrange people into a position so that those that are lying lower than others will be closer to the stage to ensure good sightlines for all.  There will be plastic chair seating available at the venue, though people are encouraged to bring their own chairs that they may find more comfortable for the evening.  The performance area is roughly 150m from the front gates, which is as close as a car will get to the performance area.


All shows will proceed outdoors regardless of the weather conditions (bring a poncho!), unless there is a concern for the general safety of the actors and audience by attending the show. Decisions on moving a show indoors can be made up until 30 minutes before the show starts or even called during a performance, and ticket holders are encouraged to follow the Sport For Jove Wet Weather hotline at (02) 9990 7708 for current updates regarding a plays' status that day. A show is considered to be performed once 60% of it has been staged and it will not be moved indoors if conditions require the remaining portion of the performance outdoors to be cancelled.


Shows need to proceed as scheduled outdoors or indoors as to secure the financial viability of the festival. Indoor shows previously held at the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, are now being held at the Old Katoomba Library location at 30 Parke St, Katoomba NSW 2780, the site of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.  Unfortunately, only a limit of 180 tickets for the indoor shows will be made available for each performance.   When purchasing a ticket, purchasers will have the chance to identify if they want a ticket that gives them access to the indoor venue (at no additional cost) or not.  Sport for Jove will attempt to get as many people into the indoor venue as it can accommodate, however, only these 180 tickets specially marked for the indoor venue will be guaranteed seating.


All terms and conditions can be found HERE.


Limited food (chips, chocolate bars, candy etc... ) and drinks (water, pop, coffee/tea, etc...) will be available for purchase; audience members are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks to the event, with the expectation that whatever is brought to the venue, will be taken back with them afterwards.

Gates to the performance will open 1 hour before the show's scheduled start time.





Everglades is situated in the residential area of Leura. While the Leura community is very supportive of events at Everglades, we do ask that you read the following suggestions. The more people who can utilise a shuttle bus service the less congestion at Everglades.


If you have any queries please contact Scott on 4784 1938

  • There will be a shuttle bus service in the evenings which will pickup from Leura Station, and then drop off at Everglades. This will run from continuously from one hour prior to the start of the evening performance and then two trips after the performance

  • Please respect our neighbours’ amenity by not obstructing driveways, destroying grass verges or littering.

For the matinees there is the Trolley Bus – to see the timetable please see the following link - http://www.trolleytours.com.au/trolley-timetables


Venues / FAQ’s


The Leura Shakespeare Festival is an annual theatre festival staged by SfJ in partnership with the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

The festival is centred around SfJ’s repertory season at the sublime Everglades Gardens, Leura. Since launching in 2010 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo & Juliet, SfJ has presented performances of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew & Macbeth among others..