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Shakespeare and the Mystery of the Human Being - PLAY by Michael Burton: 7pm

Shakespeare and the Mystery of the Human Being revolves around the dilemma spoken aloud by Hamlet when he says: “TO BE OR NOT TO BE?” The question means so much more than just does one go on living - it means HOW is a person going to live? With truth, with authenticity, or in a manner that turns their life into a lie? Through seventeen different excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays (with Hamlet the most used) local actor Michael Burton unfolds this meditation on what it means to be a human being.

Shakespeare and the Mystery of the Human Being is a unique theatre experience with strong themes of healing, the overcoming of evil and what it means to tread the path of self-realisation.

“The one thing we all know for certain is that we will die – but what do we do in the meantime? We simply wish to express ourselves, to live out who we are. But we have to remember that this world is a stage, and sometimes we find ourselves acting in such strange situations…”

When we watch Shakespeare we see humanity; we see ourselves. Spending time with him, a person can simply be entertained or can become a truer copy of their real Self.

“So do you become who you really are – or do you fake it? That is the question. It was relevant in Shakespeare’s time, and it is relevant in our time. But Shakespeare is a Master – he doesn’t preach at us or tell us how to be, because, of course, no one can do that but we ourselves. Instead, he gives us examples of people who are authentic and examples of people who are fake. And, out of the whole cosmos of his characters, we are given something to work with in our own life.”

Guided by the actor, we step into the shoes of a great number of different characters – some only for a few seconds; some (such as Hamlet) for much longer. We have a close encounter with a half dozen evil characters, recognizing as we do so that we cannot ourselves be certain that we will not fall for evil when it comes towards us. We laugh at Shakespeare’s clowns, but see ourselves while we laugh. And with Hamlet we go upon a quest for meaning – for what it is to be a human being, for what it means to become whole and free.

Principal Rod Tomlinson from the Tarremah Steiner School, Hobart, wrote about this performance that this show is, “a moving, varied and balanced programme with both the comic and tragic genius of Shakespeare on display.”

Michael Burton has worked with artistic speech and drama in various ways for over 35 years – as a writer, speech performer, actor, speech therapist and voice teacher. He is the author of In the Light of a Child (Anthroposophic Press, 1988), Steiner’s Soul Calendar turned into poems for children and used by many Steiner teachers and parents. He has written and performed one-man-plays about Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dag Hammarskjold and World War II kiwi soldier, Jim Henderson.

Today he is based in Sydney where he practises speech therapy and chirophonetics (a form of speech and soul therapy in which sounds are brought into contact with the body) and gives speech workshops in China. He has a commission from Lemniscate Arts in the U.S. to write the script for a play that will follow on from Steiner’s Four Mystery Dramas.

Further information and photos at

This tour is possible thanks to a grant from the NZ Anthroposophical Society


Venue: Hall

Time: 7pm

Koha appreciated