The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Tour 2023

'If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.'

The Merchant of Venice, regarded as being Shakespeare's most controversial play, echoes not only the period in which it was written but that of today's Britain: the wealthy few have power and the outsider, considered to be dangerous, must be kept in line.

In a city run by greed, gripped in a Halloween chaos, what price must you pay for love? Can one hope for justice in a society without tolerance? Or is vengeance the closest the outsider can get to acceptance?

Set against the backdrop of modern-day working shipping docks, Antonia is a wealthy Merchant desperately in need of funds. Her friend, Bassanio, needs a rich wife to clear his debts. Portia, a wealthy heiress, reduced to a prize for which men must gamble, appears to be the perfect solution.

Beneath the charmed surface, all are at risk and everyone needs a win. As for Shylock, the despised and alienated moneylender? Is he the answer to Antonia's prayers or will he seek revenge against the community that has never accepted but only rejected him?

And like Shakespeare we ask:
"How in an avaricious society can truth and justice be achieved if there is no love?"

Directed by Alex Pearson

“This is a lively and modern Venice stuffed with money, revenge and romance.”

“This very well-presented version of The Merchant of Venice is excellently executed, proving to modern audiences that Shakespeare doesn’t have to be complicated in order to understand it.”
My Theatre Mates


TOUR 2023

JW3 Arts & Culture Jewish Community Centre
341-351 Finchley Road, London, NW3 6ET

Sun 29 Oct 2023, 17:00
Tickets £20.00 / £15.00

South Hill Park - Bracknell
Ringmead, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7PA

Tue 7 Nov 2023, 19:45
Wed 8 Nov 2023, 13:00 & 19:45
Tickets: £20.50 / £17.50 / £14.50 (Under 18)

Lantern Theatre - Brighton
77 St James's Street, Brighton BN2 1PA

Thu 16 Nov 2023, 19:45
Fri 17 Nov 2023, 14:00
Fri 17 Nov 2023, 19:45
Sat 18 Nov 2023, 19:45
Tickets: £16.00 / £14.00 / £12.00 (Schools) / £8.00 (ACT Students)

Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre - London
93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1QG UK

Wed 29 Nov 2023, 19:45
Thu 30 Nov 2023, 14:00 & 19:45
Fri 1 Dec 2023, 19:45
Sat 2 Dec 2023, 14:45 & 19:45
Tickets: £18.70 / £15.40


Poetic Justice Productions, established in 1999, actually began life as the HANDS drama society, staging Not Quite Jerusalem by Paul Kember, at a student leisure centre in Euston in 1985. Two more transformations followed. As Showcase Theatre, it staged Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon, at The Production Village in Cricklewood and Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, at The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Newfound then evolved to produce Saul at The Southwark Playhouse, before the present day Poetic Justice production company came into being to stage Hamlet (by public demand) three times! Since those productions of Hamlet – at The Courtyard, Red Lion and Finborough Theatres – Poetic Justice has staged the well-received Children of Darkness by Edwin Justus Mayer at The Leicester Square Studio Theatre (our first venture into the West End) and the critically acclaimed Shylock: The Trial of a Jew, a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at The Rosemary Branch Theatre. 2015 brought a new dimension to the company’s theatrical work. Poetic Justice is lucky to have its own in-house translation team, which enabled it to premiere the very first UK airing, at the Leytonstone Festival, of the 1916 romantic comedy Scàmpolo, by Italian playwright Dario Niccodemi. Following on from this hugely well received rehearsed reading, the company staged the highly successful centenary production of Scàmpolo at the superb Rosemary Branch venue in Spring 2016. Poetic Justice, having since staged Ashley Gunstock’s contemporary version of The Merchant of Venice at The Drayton Arms Theatre in 2019, will be touring the show in Autumn 2023.


Poetic Justice

The Team


Ashley Gunstock

Via his theatre company Poetic Justice Productions he has been the Producer/Director of Not Quite Jerusalem; Same Time, Next Year; Saul; Hamlet; Prime Evil; Labour's Lost Love - his adaptation of Shakespeare’s play; Children of Darkness and Shylock – The Trial of a Jew. Ashley is currently co-producing his contemporary adaptation of The Merchant of Venice being staged at the Drayton Arms Theatre.

Marzia Marani

Roman-born & London resident she is a teacher of Italian as a second language. With Poetic Justice she has co-translated & co-produced 'Scàmpolo' a classic early 20th Century Italian play, staged in London at the Leytonstone Festival in 2015 and the Rosemary Branch in 2016. Marzia is currently co-producing the Poetic Justice contemporary adaptation of The Merchant of Venice being staged at the Drayton Arms Theatre



The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

'If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.'

Antonio, an ambitious merchant, needs a loan. His friend, Bassanio, needs a rich wife in order to clear his debts. Portia, a wealthy heiress, is reduced to a prize for which men must gamble. Beneath the golden surface, everyone's at risk and everyone needs a win. As for Shylock, the down-trodden money-lender? All he wants is revenge. In a city run by greed, in the grip of carnival chaos, what price must you pay for love? Can you hope for justice in a society without tolerance? And for the outsider, is vengeance the closest he can get to winning?

From the team that brought you a ‘spunky, ferocious’ Romeo and Juliet at the Rose Playhouse, comes Shakespeare’s darkest comedy. Four hundred years later, the play continues to trouble and challenge us with its world of prejudice and greed. This world is harsh and everyone in it is morally grey. But everyone is human and the antagonist is the most human and most moving character of all.




Lawrence Lambert

Lawrence is both a Director and an Actor. He is from London and graduated from East 15 Acting School in 1983. He then joined the Manchester Library Theatre company, and working under the Artistic direction of the late Howard Lloyd Lewis, he was able to both act and direct as a company member over a number of seasons. He then went on to join Bristol Express, The Torch and BTC theatre companies until becoming the Artistic Director of the East London Theatre company. He has also appeared in both Television and Film, including playing Eliot Saunders in Eastenders and in Sir Richard Attenborough’s film "Chaplin" as well as the British film comedy "Sixty Six". He currently teaches Acting for Film at the Met Film School, Ealing Studios and is about to direct his second short independent film.

Michelle Oakley | Franca

Michelle studied acting at The Actors Studio in London and LA. There she received training in method acting, TV & film technique, theatre technique, voice coaching and physical acting.  She now continues her training weekly at the Actors Gateway, London, studying the Meisner technique. Her recent work includes a new play at the London Theatre in the role of Francine, a rich, unhappy housewife, whose need for sensuality leads to an affair with her brother-in-law. In the Camden Fringe, she appeared in the sell-out, interactive show “EAT”, as an uptight lawyer with an eating disorder. Incredibly passionate about acting and the arts. Michelle loves to be involved in collaborative projects that allow her to demonstrate her creativity, and being a qualified dance teacher she considers movement to be one of her key skills. As well as acting and dance, Michelle has spent many years writing, recording and performing as lead vocalist with her band Meisha.

Ashley Gunstock | Tito Sacchi

Theatre: Most notably Major Giles Flack in Privates On Parade, Bard in The Hobbit, Marco in A View From The Bridge, Joseph Garcin in Huis Clos and the titles roles of Hamlet and Shylock. Television: Original cast member of The Bill, featured roles in Birds Of A Feather, Shine On Harvey Moon, Inspector Morse and the portrayal of Alistair Campbell in Sky News' reconstruction of The Hutton Inquiry. Film: Title role in Rafferty’s for The End of the Pier International Film Festival and featured roles in Car People for Channel 5, Feedback for Halidom Productions and The Man Who Knew Too Little for Warner Brothers. During 35 years’ experience in the theatrical industry Ashley has also been a Producer/Director of plays including: Not Quite Jerusalem; Same Time, Next Year; Saul; Hamlet; Prime Evil; Labour’s Lost Love (his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost); Children of Darkness and The Trial of the Jew Shylock.

Camila Caley | Scàmpolo

My acting career started at school. At the age of 13, I was cast as the lead in various productions including High School Musical. At 17, I was chosen to take part in an exclusive two-week acting course with the National Youth Theatre, where I became a permanent member of the company. Whilst studying at the University of Southampton I starred in further productions, performing in a devised theatre piece titled 'The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers' at the Annex Theatre. My BA in Modern Languages enabled me to play the lead actress in Ionesco's famous play 'La Cantatrice Chauve'. Training at The Anna Scher Theatre has taught me various theatrical methods and performance skills. As a former member of Theatre Venture, I contributed to the writing and directing of a two-hour play which we performed at a Hoxton theatre venue. My passion for acting lies in theatre, I thrive on the adrenalin of performing in front of a live audience.


Garry Roost | Egisto, Giglioli & Fausto

Garry trained at E15 Acting School and has extensive experience in Television, Theatre, Film. Garry’s Theatre credits include: Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Play House and Hull Truck. Best known for Creepy Guy in Blackbooks, Mickey Doolan Irish Jockey in 'At the Races' sketch with Steve Coogan. Garry’s recent inaugural solo show project directed by Gareth Armstrong at the Edinburgh Festival 2012 ignited his second solo venture directed by Paul Garnault, Pope Head (The Secret Life of Francis Bacon). The play attracted the attention of producers and major festivals globally after a successful Edinburgh Festival 2014 and returned to Summerhall in 2015. His work has taken him throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East and a hit east coast tour of Australia with Pope Head 2015, culminating in conversation with Richard Fidler, ABC Radio in Brisbane. Garry is delighted to be doing Scampolo at The Rosemary Branch Theatre.

Robert Daoust | Giulio

Robert was born in New England, USA. He gained a BA in Film making from Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. He moved to Berlin, Germany where he worked on the Berlin Fringe, notably with Artaud-based Theater 100Fleck, and the Berlin Playactors. Moving to London in 1993, he concentrated on Early Dance and Period re-creation, with groups such as Nonsuch and Consort de Danse Baroque. He returned to full-time acting in 2011, graduating with a Licentiate in Speech and Drama from Trinity College/CityLit. Recently, he played Jude in a rehearsed reading of Hinrich von Haaren's new play, Wallpaper Queen. Theatre: PEST! (Theater 100Fleck), St Joan (Berlin Playactors), Ramona's Headache (FOIO Company), A Dream Play, Jane Eyre (CL Theatre Company), Phaedra's Love (Theatre Collection), Richard II, Twelfth Night (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival). Film: Where We Best Belong (Summer Walker, RUHL Film Festival Society).  Television: Imagine: Shylock's Ghost (BBC).

Nora Silk | Emilia

Nora Silk has studied acting at Brian Timoney’s Actors Studio in London. Her stage work includes Corrie from “Barefoot In The Park” (ADC Theatre, Cambridge), Irene from “Through Blood To Green Pastures” (Howard Theatre, Cambridge), and Prudence from “Beyond Therapy” (Leicester Square Theatre, London). Her film work includes “Out Of Date” (directed by Borja Torres) and “Tooth Fairies” (directed by Steven R. Smith). Nora is also a playwright and co-director of SONAR, a newly started theatre company ( Moreover, Nora has studied music at the School of Music, Theatre, and Art, Örebro University, Sweden, and has released several music albums (



Our dedicated cast and crew are the heart and soul of this production, and we're committed to compensating them fairly.
However, producing a show comes with substantial expenses such as costumes, props, scenic design, promotional efforts, travel, lodging, and venue rentals.
While we aim to recognize their incredible talents with appropriate compensation, we also believe they deserve more.
That's where you come in.
We invite you to become a part of our artistic journey by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.
Please help us reward our exceptional team for their unwavering dedication and extraordinary work.
Join us in bringing this remarkable adaptation to life and making it accessible to a diverse audience.
Thank you.



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