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The Malachites to Present THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, 19 March - 19 April


Following the 5 star success of last summer's Titus Andronicus, Malachite Theatre returns to St Leonard's Church in the heart of Shoreditch, to tell Shakespeare's tale of love, loss and prejudice in the Merchant of Venice to celebrate the 450th anniversary of England's greatest playwright.

The Merchant of Venice runs for five weeks from the 19th March to 19th April, Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm in St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch

To reconnect Shoreditch with Shakespeare, Malachite Theatre is working closely with Shoreditch Church. Stratford may have the RSC, and Southwark the Globe, but it is all too easy to forget that Shoreditch is the original site of the now-lost Theatre and Curtain which premiered nineteen of Shakespeare's earliest plays including the Merchant of Venice.

2014 marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, the time is right to reconnect the borough with the Bard by bringing his earliest plays home in the 21st century. Eternal themes of love, sacrifice and prejudice are as prescient now as when the words were first spoken just yards from the epic setting of the 18th century St Leonard's Church.

The Merchant of Venice is a stunning site-specific production set in Shoreditch's St Leonard's Church (recognisable from the successful BBC comedy 'Rev'), and the burial place of Shakespeare's greatest actor, Richard Burbage. Directed by the up-and-coming Benjamin Blyth, Malachite Theatre follow their 5 star production of Titus Andronicus, with an intense, chaotic view of the world through the prism of Shakespeare's Venice.

Set in the anarchic world of Venice, Bassanio, in pursuit of the woman he loves persuades his friend, the merchant Antonio, to fund his trip to woo the seemingly unattainable Portia. Unable to raise the funds himself, Antonio borrows the money from the infamous Shylock, a Jewish money-lender forced to the margins of Venetian society by the very men who need his help. Unable to repay the debt, Antonio is left to the scant mercy of the man he once attacked in the streets, a loan-shark demanding a pound of flesh as recompense. Can Bassanio win the woman he loves and save the life of the man prepared to sacrifice himself at the altar of friendship?

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