Bell’s new broom on his period approach, why theatre still matters, and why kids need Shakespeare, not arts cuts.

There’s something refreshingly un-Shakespearean about Peter Evans. Not that he isn’t smart, articulate and funny, but nothing about the man currently behind the head honcho’s desk at Bell Shakespeare strikes you as grand or smacks of thespian with a capital ‘T’. But this is the fellow charged with filling the big boots left behind by his predecessor John Bell, or “King John” as Limelightprofiled him last year, as he exited stage right passing the baton to Evans in a carefully managed transition.

“I’ve been in this chair alone for about two weeks,” admits the man who was tempted back from Melbourne to Sydney a few years ago to become co-Artistic Director with Bell from 2013. Currently directing the first of the company’s two Shakespeare offerings this year, the burden is less than it might seem compared to the workload of an Associate Director at Melbourne Theatre Company. “One of the appeals for coming back to Bell was to start to do a bit less,” he jokes. “I got to 40 and thought, ‘actually, I want to work on the best...

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