Gender-blind Twelfth Night performed in a Hampstead wood

Clare Janew as Orsino and Emily Hill as Cesario/Viola with Valentine (Edward Smith)

Clare Janew as Orsino and Emily Hill as Cesario/Viola with Valentine (Edward Smith) in rehearsal for Twelfth Night - Credit: Garden Suburb Theatre

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night gets a post-war setting and gender-blind casting in Garden Suburb Theatre's open air production.

The tale of twins separated by a shipwreck features a gender-swapping plotline with heroine Viola disguising herself as a young man – then falling for her boss Duke Orsino.

The amateur theatre group's version is set in 1945 and features a female Feste, Malvolio and Orsino - with hilarious results. Director Teresa Poland says one of Shakespeare's funniest works is played for laughs in the idyllic setting of Little Wood, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

“The period just after the war was a little like what we’re going through now – people rediscovering joy, and starting to feel positive again," she said.

Cesario/Viola (Emily Hill) and Olivia (Yvonne Ikwueke) in rehearsal for Garden Suburb Theatre's Twelfth Night

Cesario/Viola (Emily Hill) and Olivia (Yvonne Ikwueke) in rehearsal for Garden Suburb Theatre's Twelfth Night - Credit: Supplied

“The casting was genuinely gender-blind – we just put in the best we had, regardless of whether they were male or female."

The production runs from August 27 to September 4.

Visit for tickets.

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