The greatest of all epics about nation, is finally an epic about our nation.
Epic and provocative, The Shadow King reworks Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy King Lear as a sprawling, blood-soaked tale of two Indigenous families in Australia’s north. Probing our understanding of kinship and country, it weaves a parable that echoes our nation’s history.
Told through modern English, Kriol languages and a live rock score, this ambitious new production brings together some of Australia’s foremost Indigenous performers, including Tom E. Lewis (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) and Jimi Bani (Mabo), along with the music of Bart Willoughby.
Working across cultures and generations, The Shadow King is an unmissable theatrical event of a scale and significance to match the land on which it’s made.
Malthouse Theatre & Melbourne Festival present
THE SHADOW KING
in association with Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival & Brisbane Festival
Co-Created by Tom E. Lewis & Michael Kantor
Directed by Michael Kantor
Music Consultant Iain Grandage
Music Director John Rodgers
Sound Design Kelly Ryall
Lighting Design Paul Jackson
Set Design Paul Jackson, Michael Kantor & David Miller
Props & Costume Design Ruby Langton-Batty
Dramaturg Marion Potts
Film Natasha Gadd, Rhys Graham & Murray Lui
Producer Jo Porter
Cast Jada Alberts, Jimi Bani, Frances Djulibing, Rarriwuy Hick, Damion Hunter, Kamahi Djordon King, Tom E Lewis, Natasha Wanganeen
Band Selwyn Burns, Jason Tamiru, Bart Willoughby
Run Time 1 hour 45 minutes, no interval
Read the program
Watch the trailer
Watch the mini documentary
Image and video: Daybreak Films
Production images: Jeff Busby
In the Press
The Guardian (4 stars)
Radio National Tom E. Lewis talks to AM (audio and transcript)
774 ABC Melbourne Tom E. Lewis and Michael Kantor on The Conversation Hour
Tom E. Lewis and Michael Kantor talk to The Australian
Herald Sun article
Magnify Your Experience
Limited Edition: The Shadow King
Saturday 19 October, 4pm
What happens when a classic Whitefella text is reimagined as an Indigenous story? In this Limited Edition, a panel of guests will discuss the topics and themes that emerge when a piece of theatre is made at a corroboree of cultures.
Join Jason Tamiru, Malthouse Theatre’s Aboriginal Engagement Producer, and a panel of guests to learn more about the spirit and the shadow of this paramount work and its echoes across Australia.
TTT: Time to Talk
Thursday 17 October, following the 7.30pm performance of The Shadow King.
Supported by the Tom Kantor Fund.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals – Melbourne Festival, Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival and Brisbane Festival.