Billy Smedley preparing for filming during our third shoot for Shakespeare Republic (Photo: James Dene)

Billy Smedley preparing for filming during our third shoot for Shakespeare Republic (Photo: James Dene)

*DISCLAIMER: Sorry guys, the scene Billy shot yesterday has nothing to do with that other Red Room stuff … we just thought it was funny that he was in a suit in a Red Room with expensive silverware – completely by accident … but we’re not entirely convinced that Shakespeare is ready for that other kind of treatment … yet 😉

It was with great anticipation that we headed off yesterday morning to the north side of town to shoot our third episode for Shakespeare Republic, this time featuring Republic member, Billy Smedley in a suit, a red room and my rather leaky silver service (nothing that some gaffer tape couldn’t fix … ah, the magic of film!).

Our generous hosts for this episode were Jason and Julie at The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. Co-Producer, Perri Cummings and I had dropped by to look at the hotel a couple of weeks back and fell in love with the vibe, the history and the look of the pub, which is a true gem of the North Melbourne area.  We were therefore delighted when The Courthouse Director, Jason Pope, offered to support Shakespeare Republic and give us access to their function rooms upstairs that were perfect in look and style for what we needed.  We loved that all we had to bring were a few props and our equipment – everything else in the room is part of the very tasteful and fun decor created by the Hotel’s management team.  Set dressing already done? Tick!

Co-Producer, Perri Cummings, takes a highly creative combined selfie and behind the scenes shot of filming in the stunning gold gilt mirror in the Red Room at The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne (Photo by Perri Cummings)

Co-Producer, Perri Cummings, takes a highly creative combined selfie and behind the scenes shot of filming in the stunning gold gilt mirror in the Red Room at The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne with Sally McLean, Tim McCormick and James Dene in the background (Photo by Perri Cummings)

I cannot recommend the Courthouse Hotel enough.  Opened in 1862 with various refurbishments over the years, the Hotel has retained much of it’s original wood paneling, fixtures and floors, enhanced greatly by the inclusion of antique furniture and fittings brought in by the current proprietors.  While it has all the modern comforts, the sense that you are stepping into a piece of Melbourne history cannot be denied, and creates a perfect balance of old meets new with classic flair.

Perri and I fell in love with the place on our first viewing and knew it would be perfect for Billy’s episode.  While we won’t give too much away about the content (you’ll just have to wait for the launch of Season 1 in a few weeks – and trust us, there wasn’t a pair of handcuffs in sight, truly!), and at the moment you’re only getting black and white versions of the shots (you can see a few colour sneak peeks on our Instagram feed here), we can definitely say it provided the perfect setting for the piece.

Billy Smedley waits for his Red Room to be readied for filming (Photo: Perri Cummings)

Billy Smedley waits for his Red Room to be readied for filming (Photo: Perri Cummings)

The added bonus for us was being able to sit down to lunch in the fabulous lounge area of the bar downstairs.  With a luxurious deep red couch, fun newspaper print fabric covered arm chairs and deep rosewood coloured wood paneling, it is a truly relaxing place to have a good-quality pub meal in style.

The lovely lounge bar area at The Courtbouse Hotel, North Melbourne (Photo: Perri Cummings)

The lovely lounge bar area at The Courtbouse Hotel, North Melbourne (Photo: Perri Cummings)

But for me, the truly exciting thing was the inclusion of a separate gluten-free menu! While there is a good selection of “normal” food available, the fact that The Courthouse offers an entirely separate gluten-free menu for those of us who are often limited in our choices when eating out was absolute heaven!  (They also cater for vegetarians and vegans).  We shouted the crew to lunch with great anticipation and weren’t disappointed.  Yes, I photographed our food (it just looked so good), so here are the pictures below (in colour).  And yes, the food tasted fantastic!  (And the coffees were amazing too!)

Then it was back to filming upstairs (although we probably lingered over our meals and coffees longer than we should have – it was just so comfortable, what can I say?).  We finished the day on time and once the room was cleared and set back to rights, headed downstairs, where Jason and Julie shouted us to one of Jason’s rather fabulous Espresso Martinis (which you can try for yourself at any time of the week for the incredibly reasonable sum of $10 each as part of their $10 Martinis special … unheard of elsewhere and more than worth the price!).  Check out my snapshot on our Instagram feed here.

An action shot of Director of Photography, James Dene with Director, Sally McLean during filming (Photo: Perri Cummings)

An action shot of Director of Photography, James Dene with Director, Sally McLean during filming (Photo: Perri Cummings)

And so, another Shakespeare Republic shoot is done and dusted.  I would like to thank our fabulous crew: James Dene (DOP), Tim McCormick (Gaffer/Sound) and Perri Cummings (Co-Producer), as well as the wonderful talent that is Billy Smedley.  I and the team would also like to thank The Courthouse Hotel, Jason and Julie and all their staff for their impeccable service and generous kindness in allowing us to film on their premises and for taking such good care of us during the shoot.  Nothing was too much trouble (as evidenced in the photo below) and they made this shoot an absolute joy to undertake.

The Courthouse Hotel proprietor, Jason Pope, kindly filling up our hot water flask so Billy could drink a hot cup of tea upstairs as part of his scene.  Champion! (Photo: Perri Cummings)

The Courthouse Hotel proprietor, Jason Pope, kindly filling up our hot water flask so Billy could drink a hot cup of tea upstairs as part of his scene. Champion! (Photo: Perri Cummings)

And so, we now move into pre-production for the next shoot!

‘Til next time … see you anon …

Sally McLean
Director/Producer
Shakespeare Republic


ABOUT THE COURTHOUSE HOTEL, NORTH MELBOURNE

The Courthouse Hotel is establishing itself as a leading light in the North Melbourne Arts scene.  With initiatives such as their recent WinterFest, featuring more than 50 local artists in cabaret, performance and stand up over three days, as well as their involvement as a venue for the Melbourne Fringe Festival and other Melbourne Arts festivals and a commitment to the Arts that is genuine and enthusiastic, they are well worth considering for your next theatre, film or music gig.  You can find out more about the venue via the links below:

Address: 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne 3051

Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/@tchonerrol
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/courthouseonerrol
Website: http://www.courthouseonerrol.com.au/

Looking into The Courthouse Hotel Lounge Bar (Photo: Perri Cummings)

Looking into The Courthouse Hotel Lounge Bar (Photo: Perri Cummings)

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