Taking Shakespeare

by John Murrell

Streaming June 8 – 13, 2021

Taking Shakespeare

by John Murrell


Patti Allan – Prof

Austin Eckert – Murph


Michael Shamata – Director

Candelario Andrade – Videographer and Editor

Tobin Stokes – Composer and Sound Designer

Sophie Tang – Lighting Designer

Becca Jorgensen – Stage Manager 

Production photography by Mark Halliday, Moonrider Productions.

Taking Shakespeare is 84 minutes long.

The Belfry Theatre is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and engages professional Artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the terms of the jointly negotiated Canadian Theatre Agreement.

Taking Shakespeare is produced under the auspices of UBCP / ACTRA.


The Belfry Theatre is on the land of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. The Lək̓ʷəŋən people have been keepers of this land for millennia and we offer our respect and gratitude for our uninvited presence on their territory.

These lands are within the disputed Douglas Treaties territories, treaties that were negotiated verbally, signed to blank pieces of paper by the Indigenous leaders and then had text added by the colonial government. The colonial perspective on the treaty is one of a sale of land, while the Indigenous perspective is a sharing of territory.

The Songhees are members of the Te’mexw Treaty Association seeking a modern treaty with the Crown on their rights, territory and self-government.

The Belfry Theatre is a registered Canadian charity, 11921 5549 RR0001.

The Belfry Theatre is a member of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Destination Greater Victoria, and the Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria.

President – Richard Brownsey

Vice-President – Dr. Sheila Elworthy

Secretary – Ross Woodland

Treasurer  – Robert Thomson, CA


Gloria Back

Paulina Grainger

Dr. Joan Mcarthur-Blair

Kini McDonald

Joan Peggs

Sarah Pocklington

Lisa Ricci

Andy Stephenson

Alison Watt

Honorary Board of Directors

Chair Emeritus – Patrick Stewart

Sherri Bird

Barbara Greeniaus

Robert Johnston, Q.C.

John Keay

Joan Snowden

Dr. Brian Winsby

Michael Ziegler

Kate Barry – Development Coordinator
Jane Broomfield – Front of House Manager
Helena Descoteau – Box Office Clerk
Mark Dusseault – Director of Marketing & Communications
Linda Findlay – Head of Wardrobe
Mike Ford – Director of Production and Operations
Ian Gibson – Audience Services Manager
Ivan Habel – Executive Director
Keith Houghton – Head Technician & Systems Administrator
Valerie Houle – Company Manager
Carole Klemm – Scenic Artist
Matty Cervantes Navarrete – Manager of Community and Artistic Connections
Patricia O’Brien – Financial Officer
Samantha Pelkey – Associate Producer and Indigenous Relations Manager
Peter Pokorny – Head of Props
Dale Pudwell – Head Scenic Carpenter
Michael Shamata – Artistic Director
Lara Shepard – Custodian
Gregory Smith – Technical Director
Susan Stevenson – Director of Development

This show was filmed in Vancouver. Our thanks to the Arts Club Theatre and their exceptional staff who worked onTaking Shakespeare.

Stephan Baeuml – Director of Production
Ted Roberts – Resident Designer/Technical Director
Dan Paterson – Newmont Stage Technical Director
Ace Martens – Pre-Production Manager
Jack Holmes – Facilities/Venue Rentals Manager
Lucas Hall – Stanley Theatre Head Stage Carpenter
Darren Payne – Newmont Venue Technician
Sebastian Finch – Stanley Theatre Head of Sound










Biographies - Cast

Patti Allan


Patti has been acting in theatre, Film and T.V. in Vancouver and throughout the country for over 30 years. She is thrilled to be working with this wonderful team in presenting the reading of this compelling piece of work. Patti has previously performed at the Belfry Theatre in Anatol and Three Tall Women in the late 1990’s. She is delighted to be working with one of her favourite directors, Michael, whom she first had the pleasure of working with in the Vancouver Playhouse’s production of The Music Man, in 1991. Patti also loves teaching both young people and seniors.

Austin Eckert


Austin is from Treaty 4 territory (Regina, Saskatchewan). He was recently featured in the Belfry’s film production of BEING HERE: The Refugee Project. Select Theatre: Much Ado About NothingThe Winter’s TaleMacbethAs You Like ItTaming of the ShrewShakespeare in Love (Bard on the Beach), HAIR (Mayfield), Beauty and the Beast (Arts Club), MAMMA MIA! (WCT), Miss Understood (Frank). Select Television: BatwomanThe FlashSupernatural (CW), Narcoleap (Telus/ CBC), Colony (USA), The Magicians (SyFy). Austin is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and was in the company of Spring Awakening at the Belfry.

Biographies - Creative Team

photo of john murrell

John Murrell – Playwright

John Murrell is among Canada’s most frequently produced playwrights, whose plays – including Waiting For The Parade, Memoir, Farther West, and Taking Shakespeare – have been performed in more than 30 countries around the world.  He is also a translator, the author of four opera libretti, an arts activist, mentor, and consultant.  Murrell is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and a recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.  One Yellow Rabbit’s premiere production of his play Death In New Orleans won a prestigious Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival.

Candelario Andrade - Videographer and Editor

Candelario Andrade is a video editor and media designer for theatre, dance and performance arts. Recent streaming credits include BEING HERE: The Refugee Project (Belfry), Body Parts (Tara Cheyenne Performance); Bard Beyond the Beach (Bard on the Beach) and Pathetic Fallacy (The Chop -with Milton Lim). Recent theatre credits: Anywhere But Here (Electric Company); House and Home (Firehall); Anon(ymous) (Studio58). For the Belfry: Griffin and Sabine; Forget About Tomorrow. As video editor he has worked for Knowledge Network, VIFF and several short films and animations for visual artist Cindy Mochizuki. Cande is a faculty teacher at Studio58 and co-artistic director of Rough House productions.

Tobin Stokes - Composer and Sound Designer

Tobin Stokes composes for opera, concerts, theatre, film, and dance. He writes opera libretti, choral texts, song lyrics, and short plays. His opera, Fallujah, premiered with Long Beach Opera and New York City Opera in 2016. Pauline, an opera collaboration with Margaret Atwood, premiered in 2014. Tobin has composed music for dozens of films. His most recent series, The Wild Canadian Year, was recorded with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. For theatre, he composes and works in sound design. Tobin’s choral music is performed around the world, and his orchestral music and other operas have been commissioned and premiered in Canada. His orchestral music has been recorded in Moscow and Bratislava. Tobin composed the music for the Belfry’s filmed production of BEING HERE: The Refugee Project.

Sophie Tang - Lighting Designer

Sophie Tang is a Jessie Award Winner and Nominee, as well as an Ovation Award Nominee. She holds an MFA theatre design degree from UBC and a BFA theatre production and design degree from SFU. Recent Lighting Design credits: BEING HERE: The Refugee Project (Belfry Theatre); East Van Panto: Panto Come Home! (Theatre Replacement); The Human Voice (City Opera); 12 Dates of Christmas (Arts Club Theatre); Straight White Men (ITSAZOO Productions); Little Volcano (Veda Hille & Theatre Replacement); Peter Pan (Carousel Theatre).  Sophie recently designed the set for Kuroko at Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre. Upcoming: Lighting and Projection design for Tomorrowlove at Studio 58. Portfolio website:

Becca Jorgensen - Stage Manager

Becca is a Victoria born and raised stage manager and marathoner. She is thrilled to be back and creating with the Belfry for her 4th season. For the Belfry: BEING HERE: The Refugee Project, The Ministry of Grace, Every Brilliant ThingBears, Griffin & Sabine, Bed & Breakfast, A Christmas Carol. Other favourites elsewhere: Busted Up! A Yukon Story (OpenPit); The Piano Teacher (Arts Club); Garden of Alice, La Bohème, Il Trittico (Pacific Opera Victoria); Mamma Mia!, Kim’s Convenience, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands

Why I Chose This Play

An evolving relationship between an older Professor and a younger student may seem like a clichéd set-up for a play. However, in the hands of John Murrell—one of this country’s most celebrated playwrights—what appears to be a simple play, is as complex as life itself.

Taking Shakespeare focuses on two wounded individuals with unfulfilled needs. Through their shared exploration of Shakespeare’s Othello, they discover the one (unlikely) person with whom they can share their vulnerabilities. It is a deeply humane play, about our fragility and our susceptibility to the whims and wounds of others. Shakespeare’s unparalleled understanding of the human heart becomes both the bond between these two, and the window into each other’s soul.

We are all so easily hurt—and yet—if we are lucky enough to find an ally—we can also find the strength to carry on.

Michael Shamata


The Belfry Theatre gratefully acknowledges the financial support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, the Capital Regional District Arts Development Office and the City of Victoria.

Belfry Theatre Sponsors


Times Colonist

BMO Financial Group

Graham Isenegger & Neil Chappell of CIBC Wood Gundy – Blue Heron Advisory Group

PARC Retirement Living

TD Bank Group

Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites

CD Specialty Cleaning & Restoration

Horne Coupar LLP Lawyers & Notaries

BMO Financial Group

FOCUS Magazine

Presented by Odlum Brown Limited

EAT Magazine

Monday Magazine

Vessel Liquor Store

RBC Emerging Artists Project

Costa Verde Landscaping

Dowell’s Moving & Storage

The Finishing Store

Gabriel Ross Furniture


Monk Office

Petals Plus

The Joint Pizzeria & Deli

Phillips Brewing and Malting Co.

Sea Cider

Truffles Catering

Vessel Liquor Store

Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites

Villa Marco Polo Inn

FOCUS Magazine

Times Colonist

Showcase Awards

Government of Canada

Caffe Fantastico

Fastrac Printing

APM Fund for the Arts†

Belfry Theatre Society Endowment Fund†

Benevity Community Impact Fund

Irma J. Brydson Foundation

Cederberg Family Fund †

Charitable Gift Funds Canada Foundation†

Government of Canada †

The Jawl Foundation

Henley Family Fund†

Humber/Frampton Fund†

Marymax Fund†

The Mclean Foundation

Elizabeth McPherson Fund for the Arts†

Provincial Employees Community Services Fund

The Stewart Fund (through the Vancouver Foundation)

Vancouver Foundation

Victoria Foundation

Victoria Guest Services

Peter & Nancy Vivian Fund †

† through the Victoria Foundation

Belfry Legacy Circle Sponsor

The support of visionary philanthropy ensures that the Belfry will continue to flourish as Greater Victoria’s premier contemporary theatre company.

Dr. Perry & (Late) Annamaria Bamji

Richard Brownsey & Glynis Leyshon

Jane Francis & Dave Skilling

Barbara Greeniaus & Bill Israel

Bruce & Barbara Housser

Judi James

John & Anne Keay

Robert & Ann Myers

Joan Peggs

Cindy Petrowski & Phil Marsh

Ross Richardson

John & Suzanne Stewart

Judy Stewart

Julie & John Richard Swenson

Plus, a further seven anonymous members

We invite you to join the Belfry Legacy Circle by making a planned gift or bequest. Gift planning is an inspired, meaningful and deeply personal way to secure the future of the Belfry Theatre. The support of visionary philanthropy ensures that the Belfry will continue to flourish as Greater Victoria’s premier contemporary theatre company.

Consult your professional advisors about the many forms through which you can achieve tax advantages of charitable donations and bequests. Please inform us if you have included the Belfry in your estate plans, so we can acknowledge your support during and/or after your lifetime, according to your wishes. Contact: Susan Stevenson, Director of Development, 250-385-6835 ext. 229 or

The Belfry acknowledges the generous recent and past gifts from the estates of

Helena Balczewska

Roger J. Bishop

Shirley Mae Dawson

Marguerite Kathleen Friesen

David Neil Lee

Maria Luisa Macrae

Grace Mersereau

Margaret Seens

Alan Geoffrey White


Annamaria Bamji Memorial Award for Emerging Playwrights, created by Dr. Perry Bamji 

In Memory of Eric Adler

In Memory of Violet Armstrong (2)

In Memory of Annamaria Bamji from owners of Lady Jane Condominium

In Memory of my sister Beth, from Casey

In Memory of Agnes and Arnold Davies

In Memory of my brother Gerry Emery

In Memory of Michael Fallis (2)

In Memory of Antonietta Forte

In Memory of Jean Elizabeth Kõdar

In Memory of Nikki & Bruce MacKenzie from the family

In Memory of Ronald Adam Polstein

In Memory of Jacqueline Price

In Memory of Jack & Lisa Valikoski

Through the Victoria Foundation

Belfry Theatre Donors

Ronald & Juliana Polstein † *
John & Suzanne Stewart *

Stephen & Michelle Brown *
Fiona Hunter *
The Nikki & Bruce MacKenzie Family *
Patrick Stewart *
Dr. Stephen Tax

Lee Adler *
Ian & Gloria Back Fund * †
Susan & Gary Braley *
Katherine Farris & Kit Pearson *
Mohan & Kathy Jawl *
Peter & Helen Malcolm *
Anne McLaughlin *
Claude & Joan Mury *
Gregg B. Perry *
Barbara & Kim Potash
Jane & Steve Savidant *
Lee & Karl Soberlak Foundation
Lesley Watson & Evert Lindquist *

Honorable & Mrs. David & Sandra Anderson

Dr. Perry & (Late) Annamaria Bamji *

John & Barbara Barton *

Richard Brownsey & Glynis Leyshon *

Stephen Cushing & Debbie Gill *

Jan & Janice Drent *

Sheila & Paul Elworthy *

David Harris Flaherty *

Barbara Greeniaus *

Ivan Habel

Joe & Linda Harvey *

Douglas & Anne Henderson *

Bruce & Barbara Housser

Audrey Johnson *

Robert & Suzanne Johnston *

Patti-Anne & Martin Kay *

Helen Lansdowne *

Alan Marcus & Gail Nagley

Mary McAvoy

Kini McDonald *

Robert Milne *

Michael Morres *

Bill & Maureen Murphy-Dyson *

Robert & Ann Myers *

Patricia O’Brien & Michael Gaudet

Ronald & Judith Parish *

Joan Peggs *

Lisa Ricci

Andy Stephenson *

Judy Stewart *

Al & Judith Title *

Ross & Jane Woodland *

Michael & Vicki Ziegler *

Anonymous (2)

A refugee sponsor and admirer of Joel
Darlene Elaine Clover *
Florence & Tom Dingle
Susan Findlay
Bill & Joan Huzar *
Katie McGowan
Beate & Kirk Northcott *
Karen Platt
Mary Ellen Purkis
Gordon & Grace Rogers *
Bob & Joan Snowden *
David Zussman & Sheridan Scott
Anonymous (2)
David Alexander *
H Diane Bell *
Karen Blakely *
Lorie Bradley & Russ Pym*
Nancy Buan *
Elaine Calder & William J. Bennett
Oscar & Malca Casiro *
Chris & Mary Chapman *
Jane Clinckett *
Chris & Susan Considine *
Les & Barbara Copley *
Ginny Crawford
Jane Francis & Dave Skilling
Denny Gelinas *
Andrew Karwowski & Sylvie Cote *
John Krich
Marty Laurence & Mort Nelson
Carol Leach *
Laurence & Anne Mackett *
Ann Maffey *
Mia Maki *
Phillip Marsh & Cindy Petrowski *
Jeff McEown *
Joan McNeely
Celso E. Mendoza
Jon & Gail Muzio *
Sara Neely 
Ivo & Sara Olivotto
Margaret Parker *
Pauline Price *
Diane Scott
Sandra Stott
Julie & John Richard Swenson
Robert Thomson *
Marie Vautier *
Gordon & Deanna Wallace *
Tom Ward and Marlie Manning *
Gillian Wood
Marianne Yelle *
Patricia M. Young *

A Refugee Sponsor and Admirer of Joel

Anonymous (4)

Amy Adams & David Secord
Sandra Anderson *
Lynne Bain
William & Sharon Baker *
Terence Barker
Christine & Michael Bloomfield
Sheila & Murray Bradley *
Peter Bray & Lorna Popham *
Sherry & John Butler *
Trevor & Maureen Calkins *
Karen Carter
Lyn Davis *
Brenda Eaton
Sabrina Flint
Eric & Michele Fretz *
Peter Gibson *
Dr Morgan Hall
Chris & Catriona Harker *
Sara Harman
Rand & Margaret Harrison *
Jennifer Hawthorn *
Rosemarie Hayes *
Joel Hefty *
John & Elaine Hooper *
Peter Kruselnicki
Jeanne Lamon & Christina Mahler
Allana Lindgren *
Robert & Lynda Malpass *
Marilyn Mickelberry *
Sara Olivotto *
Michael William Pidgeon *
Adrienne Radford *
Nicola Ruth Rendell
Jaci Ross *
Esther Sangster-Gormley *
Bruce Scott *
Sheila Skinnider *
Ann Smith *
Brian & Barbara Smith 
Jan & Don Storch *
Sandra T. Stott *
Henry & Marian Summerfield *
Lynn Thomson *
Kenneth Wm. Thornicroft
David & Dorothy Torontow *
Judy Treloar
Avril & Robert Tyrrell *
Terry Vatrt *
Alison Watt *
Barbara L. Wilson *
Colin Wolf
Rachel Wyatt
David & Eloise Yaxley *
Anonymous (3)
Marjory Acton *
Catherine Aquart *
Douglas Baer
Arlette Baker
Clayton Baraniuk & Jason Dubois
Reginald Beniac *
Josie & Gene Bernhard
Barbara Best *
Ron Bischler *
Scott Borland *
Pat Bottrell *
Anita Boyd *
Gail Branton *
Frances Bryan *
Monty & Nancy Bryant *
Kristi Buchanan *
Walter & Sandra Burgess *
David & Moira Cameron *
Colin & Linda Campbell
Elizabeth (Scotty) Carley
Erika Carter *
Linda Chang *
George & Anne Clark *
David Alexander Clark *
Jo-Anne Clarke
Nancy & Michael Coady *
George & Diane Copley *
Ron Cox *
Fern Davidson *
Allan & Fern Davies *
Mavis De Girolamo *
Concha Dennis
Oksana Dexter *
Gail Duguid *
Cindy Dunphy *
Ross & Faye Eddy
Karen Edwards *
Barb Edwards *
Rob England *
Rita Estock *
Christine Fagan *
Karen Fast *
Delaine Faulkner *
Carol Fedrau-Ens *
Maggi Feehan *
Wes & Heidi Fisher *
Celine Fittes *
Rene Fortier *
Malcolm Foy
Adria Fraser
Gordon D. Fulton *
Janine Gagnier *
George Galt
Charlotte Gann *
Ann Gargett
Christine Gaudet *
Geoff & Linda Giles *
Gloria Gillingham
Kate & Ted Girard *
Leslie Glazier *
Carol Goodger-Hill
Eileen A. Grant *
Lyndsay Green *
Paula Gunn
William & Dorothy Hamilton *
May Hamilton *
Louise Hatch *
Brenda Henderson *
Gerhard & Josephine Herndler *
Eugene & Bonnie Hetherington *
Katrin Horowitz *
Mary Louise Horton *
Bev Houldsworth *
Sheila Hunter
Rob & Shirley Hunter
Patricia Huntsman *
Ellie James *
Rex Johnson *
Carol Jane Johnston *
Chris Jones & Catherine Wright
Peter & Arden Kagis
Robert & Sydney Kalef
Harriet Kendrick *
Ellen Kierulf *
Mary Kimpton *
Bruce & Gwyneth Kingham *
Kim Knight *
George Kyle
Yvonne Lawson
David A. Leach
Al & Karyn Lehmann *
Lynn / Susan
Lee Lindsay *
Ian & Gladwyn Lochhead *
Kevin & Cheryl Anne Lumley *
Katherine Joan Maas *
Pam MacDonald *
Joan MacLeod
John A. MacNicol
Thomas & Marilyn Mahan *
Ken & May Mah-Paulson *
Ronald Manzer
Margaret Martin *
Sandra Diane Martyn
Sandy Mayzel & John Gould
Ken McDougall *
Barbara McLauchlin
Lois McNabb *
Fay Melling
Barbara Menzies *
Gail Meston *
Rob Mitchell and Eloise Spitzer
Joanne Moon *
Graham C. Morgan *
Hazel Morris *
Catharine & Anthony Moses *
Jack & Marilyn Mulkins *
Earl & Roxanne Naismith
Coline & Bill Neilson
Stephen & Barbara Newton *
Kris Ovens *
Jo Owens *
Anne Park Shannon
Arlene D. Paton *
Nancy Payeur *
Julie & Bill Pearce
Gordon Phillipe & Anne Holtzman *
Ron and Mary Pollock *
Michael Rassenti *
Peter Richards
John & Donna Richardson *
Shelagh & Brad Rinald
Penny & Mel Rinald *
Dennie T. Rothschild *
Joan Saunders *
Peter Seward
Kathryn Sihota *
Marie Skinnider *
Gordon & Laura Smith *
C. Stephen & Mary Smith *
Kathy St. John
Catherine A. Stephenson
Susan Stevenson & William Bruce McGuigan
Veronica Stockwell *
Megan Stone *
Matt Stone *
Stephen & Jeanette Titus *
Beverley Tracey *
Andrew and Joanne Turner 
Bob & Vicky Turner *
Anne Underhill *

Matt & Jean Valikoski *
Lindy Van Alstine
Nick van Der Westhuizen *
Margaret Walker *
Donald & Adelina White
Carolyn Whitfield *
Lorraine Whiting *
Jim & Anne Williams *
Bill Williamson *
Carol Wimbush *
Brian Linds & Jan Wood
D.W. Young *
Anonymous (21)

Our thanks to the 329 Believers ($75 – $149) and 1161 Friends (up to $74) 
* Donated cancelled tickets 
† Through the Victoria Foundation
As of May 25, 2021

Belfry Theatre Donors – Capital

The Belfry Theatre thanks our generous donors who contributed to the 2020 / 21 Capital Retrofitting Project. Their support made it possible to install a wheelchair elevator and washroom backstage, making our stage and dressing rooms accessible to all artists, visitors, volunteers and staff.

Andrew Sheret Limited

The Barraclough Foundation

British Columbia Arts Council

Charis and Brian

Donna Christie & Richard Shapka

Alex & Samantha Currie

Government of Canada

The Hamber Foundation

Jill Kean

Mary McAvoy

Peninsula Co-op

Cindy Petrowski & Phillip Marsh

Nicola Ruth Rendell

Milton Schlosser & Paul Harland

Rotary Club of Victoria

Victoria Foundation

Patricia M. Young

Anonymous (6)

Plus 3 Name a Seat donors