What’s On

Celebrate a Centenary of Ulysses with Love’s Bitter Mystery at Villa Alba

Bloomsday in Melbourne, 1-13 February 2022 coincides with the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s famous novel Ulysses. See website for details and link to booking page. It is already strongly booked, so get in early to secure your place.

Nature of the Event: Bloomsday in Melbourne returns to live theatre with a new immersive play, Love’s Bitter Mystery: The Year that Made James Joyce written by Joyce buff Steve CareySet in the atmospheric post-gold-boom mansion and gardens at Villa Alba in Kew, the production focuses on a critical year in the young author’s life and how he used episodes in his own life in his novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. See the author’s article on the genesis of the play.

The original director of this show, Jennifer Sarah Dean of the Melbourne Shakespeare Company, comments: ‘I’m so excited by the setting,’ says Dean. ‘You really feel you’re right there in the room with the young Joyce and his fictional alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, as he experiences some of the most dramatic, formative, moving and intimate events of his young life. We can’t wait to bring it to you!’ 

Since starting rehearsals, Jennifer has been head-hunted to be the Australian Director of Moulin Rouge, so the show is her concept and design and she is working closely with an exciting new Associate Director, Carly Ellis. Carly may be familiar to you as lead actor and theatrical realisation star from Voyage, the musical based on Liz Rushen’s research into Bounty migrants, at fortyfivedownstairs in 2020

The play centres on a crucial period in the young author’s life, 1902-1904, during which Joyce exiles himself from Ireland, travels to Paris, but is called home to spend time with his sick mother, and eventually, on the streets of Dublin and against the odds, meets Nora, the love of his life.

When: 1-13 February at various times. Audience sizes are small (currently 18 per show) for Covid safety and Victorian Covid-regulation-compliant, so please book early to secure your place. The Seminar (on Joyce and the Women) and Annual Dinner will be held on 2 February 2022 at Studley Grounds restaurant across the road from Villa Alba, exactly 100 years to the day of its publication.

More Information and Booking Details : www.bloomsdayinmelbourne.org.au

Where: Boom era mansion, Villa Alba, 44 Walmer St., Kew.

Covid Arrangements: Audiences are capped at 16 per show and are density-compliant. Patrons will be asked for confirmation of vaccination as a condition of entry. Rehearsals are occurring using strict protocols to ensure caste safety.

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