The Merchant Of Venice

March 11, 2016

by William Shakespeare



May 9th - 11th 2016


The Liffey Studio (1 Main St, Newbridge)

Only 25 seats per show

Seats €10 each

Booking by text 087 2759420 or email

Directed by Peter Hussey

Featuring young people from Kildare schools




Directed by Peter Hussey this full production of the complete text will be staged in the intimate Liffey Studio, above Johnson's Pub on 1 Main Street, Newbridge.  It will run on Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th May from 7.00pm to 10.00pm. Seats are €10. They can be booked by texting your name, date you'd like to attend, and number of seats required to 087 2759420 or   As the venue is small, it will seat only 25 people per show. Tickets available on a first-come, first served basis. Payment for all booked/reserved places will be required on or before Friday 6th May by post, dropping it into our centre, or arrange a bank transfer. Details will be arranged with you when you book seats.

In 2015 we staged 'Othello' in a local school, having staged 'Romeo and Juliet' the year before. This year we have again cast pupils from local schools in all the roles of The Merchant of Venice, and we've been working weekly on this production since October last year. Kildare Youth Theatre is the only company who annually stages full productions of the Shakespearian play that its cast are studying at second level. There really is no better way to study Shakespeare, and we encourage as many young people as possible to become involved with the production each year.

The Merchant of Venice is a wonderfully complex piece of writing, revealing a world fuelled by money, held together by bonds, and motivated almost emtirely by self-interest. In our exploration of the play we find not one single character who acts selflessly: all are on the make, or gambling for status, or using each other to get what they want. The dominant theme that emerges for us is of bondage: each tries to bind another, through legal contracts, love ties, promises, emotional blackmail, excessive generosity, rigid ritual, debt, cultural tradition, or mercy. Portia, one of Shakespeare's most compelling women, is seen as the consumate expert in the art of binding, having herslf been bound to a bizarre ritualitic marriage condition imposed by her dead father. By the end of the play she has firmly bound to her a man she can control, indebted the Republic to her for saving one of its leading citizens, and sundered a complex bond between her husband and his too-generous benefactor. In this world, almost everything can be bought. It is Shakespeare's prophetic glimpse forward to our world of neo-liberal capitalism, where radically diverse communities with opposing religious idealogies can live, buy and sell together despite hating each other's beliefs. The 4 great losers in the play represent modes of thinking and systems of belief that have no place in this new world because they are fixed, immovable and not able to adapt. Morocco (the warrior class bound by honour), Aragon (the nobility bound by rank), Antonoio (the Christian bound by New Testament ideas of sacrifice), and Shylock (the Jew bound by Old Testament ideas of vengeance) all appear inflexible and rigid compared to Portia's trickery, adaptability and use of all means at her disposal to get her will (including using her identity, her marriage, and her morality). 

For more on this theme, have a look at Univeristy of Virginia's Professor Paul Cantor's lectures on The Merchant of Venice in a series titled 'Shakespeare and Politics' on You Tube which begins with the video below.

Kildare Youth Theatre cast are:

Portia - Lauren Kelly
Shylock - Sean O' Brien
Bassanio - Graham Butler-Breen
Antonio - Alec Delaney
Nerissa - Noelle Keogh
Gratiano - Sean Dowse
Jessica - Sarah Mc Cormack
Lorenzo - Cian Ó Nairigh
Salarino - Elliot Nolan
Solanio - Charlie Hughes-Farrell
Launcelot Gobbo - Ross Moore
Old Gobbo - Eoghan Ó Laoire
Prince of Morocco - Doug Morrison
Prince of Aragon - Aran Cluskey
Balthazar - Shauna Kavanagh
Leonardo - Odharnait Burke
Stefano - Peter McHale
Conscience - Colin Smyth
Fiend - Daniel Cocieru
Duke of Venice - Colin Smyth
Tubal - Peter Mc Hale

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