Cathy, Heathcliff and Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

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Cathy, Heathcliff and Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

Geelong Theatre audiences are in for a special treat in mid-April when the shake & stir theatre company bring Wuthering Heights back to the GPAC for a short run of shows for the first time in a couple of years.

Shake & stir company founder and actor Ross Balbuziente will be playing Heathcliff, the mysterious stranger created by the equally mysterious Emily Bronte in 1847, on a tour that will see the cast visit a fair helping of Australia.

“We’ll be visiting 26 venues across Australia. Shake & stir theatre company has a solid reputation for taking tours of this scale. We’re quite proud of the classics we’ve brought to the stage.”

Balbuziente’s last visit to GPAC was in 2014 when he performed in George Orwell’s 1984. With a production like Wuthering Heights, the cast and producers have the unenviable task of whittling down Bronte’s classic to a manageable two hours.

“It’s a balancing act as to how faithful you are to the source of material,” he says.

As a teenager at high school Balbuziente read Wuthering Heights, but as he suggests didn’t fully appreciate the nature or breadth of the work.

“I read the book from cover to cover but didn’t appreciate it in its fullness. It’s such a dense novel. You really get to uncover more of the character’s back story by reading the novel,” Balbuziente says.

And in turn that helps Balbuziente create a fully, more realised character study of Heathcliff when he steps on stage. And the weather plays such an important backdrop in the novel, set on the cold and wintery English moors. “It plays an integral part,” says Balbuziente.

The life of Emily Bronte was a curious one. A teacher, as health issues became more prominent she returned to the family home and wrote poetry. Emily’s sisters also wrote poetry, but none knew of each of the other’s vast talents until by accident by Charlotte. That prompted further discoveries of each sister writing their own unbeknownst to the others. Emily has now become widely respected for Wuthering Heights, taught throughout universities and schools across the world, and regarded as a classic. Emily was a recluse and a very private person, so information about her and her life is limited at best.

It’s performances of Bronte’s work like the up-coming Wuthering Heights series of shows that help keep Bronte and her work in the public eye.

Wuthering Heights will open at the GPAC on April 14th, and run through to April 16th. Shows are limited so be sure to book your tickets now.

Written by Chris Michaels

When & Where: GPAC, Geelong – April 14-16