Byron Bay’s Community and Cultural Centre is the venue for Theatre North’s production of Tristan and Yseult on April 17, 18 and 19.

“The production draws heavily on theatrical traditions of tragedy, cabaret, circus, and exaggerated pantomime,” says the centre’s venue co-ordinator, Tim Winton-Brown.

“It tells a love story for adults based on the story of youthful passion, vengeance and betrayal.

“While the inspirational Romeo and Juliet story is traditional, with feuding nations rather than families, it’s the individuals that influence the spirited retelling of the bringing the cast and audience into close sometimes chaotic contact.”

The production is set it in a 1950s nightclub, the Club of the Unloved.

The Club is inhabited by people who, when not playing starring roles, are at the heart of the production – the Lovespotters. They have all known love and seek it again.

“Meanwhile, as the story unfolds they nudge the action along with energetic antics. This important chorus provides commentary on a journey we can all appreciate. On and off stage they stare at people intensely, looking for evidence of love,” Tim said.

The production is directed by Peter Derrett. He was delighted to secure the rights for this show after seeing Kneehigh Theatre’s popular production which was a highlight of the 2006 Sydney Festival.

The play has been adapted by Emma Rice and Kneehigh Theatre from Cornwall and written by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy.

“Tristan and Yseult explores what it is to love someone that you shouldn’t, to betray someone you love, to be betrayed and to be left and, most painful of all, to be unloved,” Peter said.

Actor, director and drama teacher, Susan Melhuish returns to the stage in Tristan and Yseult as Whitehands, the leader of the Loverspotters chorus.

“Susan is well known in the region for her work with 4th Wall Youth Theatre and readings at the Byron Writers Festival and is back with Theatre North where in the past she played roles in Cosi, Away, the ancient mariner and the company’s Expo88 season in Brisbane,” Tim said.

“She joins other regular theatre North Byronites, Owen Trevor-Jones and Max Donati.

“Each has played a distinctive role in company show’s productions like Trafford Tanzi, Little Shop of Horrors, Amadeus, and King Lear, which showcased their skills in tragedy, comedy, movement and song.

“Here, they are at it again!”

  • Tristan and Yseult: April 17, 18 & 19 at 7.30 p.m.
  • Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre, Jonson St, Byron Bay
  • Tickets $20 / $15 concession: Bookings on 02 6685 6807