Renowned national theatre company Bell Shakespeare premiers its national tour of The Merchant Of Venice from Orange Civic Theatre this weekend. 
Orange City Council Services Policy Committee Chair Cr Ron Gander said the relationship Orange Civic Theatre and Bell Shakespeare have fostered over the years has been a coup for the city. 
“Time and again the Bell Shakespeare company have chosen to launch their tour from Orange,” Cr Gander said. 
“Orange audiences get to see this show before anyone else and that’s fantastic. 
“It shows Orange has a lot to offer and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
“The Merchant Of Venice has been part of the Higher School Certificate the past few years so this is a wonderful opportunity for students to see the text come to life.”
Orange Civic Theatre Manager Michelle Pearce said Orange had a large audience capacity and the theatre had the technical capabilities to launch shows as significant as those by Bell Shakespeare.
“The audience numbers are there and rehearsing and launching from Orange gives the cast and crew space, and a chance to get the show perfected,” Ms Pearce said.
“Our technical capabilities at the theatre allow for this scale of production.”
Bell Shakespeare’s Deputy General Manager John Henderson said the Orange Civic Theatre was “one of our most committed national venue partners and we are thrilled to share this important milestone with them and their audiences.

“Bell Shakespeare has always been committed to sharing Shakespeare’s works with all Australians no matter where they are, our national tour is a big part of achieving that dream,” Mr Henderson said.
“For the last 20 years we have created a production specifically to take across the nation for audiences from all walks of life to experience. 2017 will mark the third year in a row that the national tour has opened in Orange.
“It’s always a pleasure to premiere these productions to the wonderful community there who always welcome us with open arms.”
The Merchant of Venice launches from Orange Civic Theatre on Friday July 7, at 7.30pm and a second show is scheduled for Saturday July 8 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek.