Michigan Shakespeare Festival Expands to Canton in 2015

Michigan Shakespeare Festival Expands to Canton in 2015

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill is teaming up with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival (MSF) to expand its theatrical offerings by bringing special performances to Canton, MI next year. For three weeks in the summer of 2015, from July 29 - August 16, 2015, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival will present its 2015 Season lineup, which will consist of two Shakespeare plays and one classical comedy, to the Canton Community.

"I am thrilled beyond belief that the Michigan Shakespeare Festival will be expanding to the Canton Village Theater next year," said Canton Arts Coordinator Jennifer Tobin. "The Festival will give our residents the opportunity to see professional Equity actors performing classic theatre in repertory - not an easy thing to find short of driving an hour or more. This will also be the opportunity of a lifetime for our resident arts groups to witness classical theatre being professionally produced - as they rub elbows with the best of the best in Michigan."

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival's official 2015 Season will be announced on opening night of the MSF's 20th Anniversary Season: June 19th, 2014. The Festival will begin the 2015 Season by rehearsing, previewing and opening performances at the Potter Center in Jackson, then moving the productions to The Village Theater at Cherry Hill.

"Our hope is that we develop a long term relationship with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival that serves to educate and enlighten our community," said Canton Supervisor Phil LaJoy. "Ultimately, we would like to put Canton on the map as a Shakespeare lover's destination and add this to our growing lineup of popular annual cultural offerings."

"As the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, I think we have the responsibility to share these works with as many people as possible--and with the expansion of the 2015 Season to The Village Theater, we will be able to bring our amazing company closer to audiences in Southeast Michigan. We couldn't be happier about our partnership with Canton and The Village Theater at Cherry Hill," said Michigan Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director, Janice L. Blixt.

Founded in 1995, The Michigan Shakespeare Festival has produced for twenty years in Jackson, Michigan. Starting as an outdoor festival in Ella Sharp Park, the company moved indoors to their current home at the Potter Center on the campus of Jackson College in 2003, thus allowing for higher levels of technical and professional performances, as well as audience comfort. That same year they received the designation as The Official Shakespeare Festival of Michigan by the state legislature.

The expanded season relies on a strong partnership with The Village Theater and connection to the Canton Township and outlying communities. The Michigan Shakespeare Festival looks forward to partnering with local businesses to weave itself into the fabric of Canton, while maintaining it's longstanding loyalty to the Jackson Community that has been its home.

Ticket sales for the Canton performances of the 2015 Season, including season Flex Passes, will be announced this autumn and available through The Village Theater at Cherry Hill box office . A Flex Pass will include one ticket to each production, and show dates and times can be chosen at the time of purchase, or at a later date.

Founded in 1995, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre company operating under a League of Regional Theatres Letter of Agreement with the Actors' Equity Association. The MSF is dedicated to entertaining and educating a broad-based audience through professional performances of Shakespeare's works and other classic plays.

The Village Theater, located at 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton, MI 48187, is a regional center for the arts that offers the magic of live theatre, soul-stirring music, the thrill of the dance, and the enjoyment of fine arts exhibitions and events, in addition to providing a home for serveral cultural organizations and community groups.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Hopgood

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M. William Panek William graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BFA in Stage Direction. Most recently, he staged The Brown Paper Box Co.'s actor-musician revival of Godspell. He also directed the world premiere of To Tree at the Heartland Studio, Reefer Madness! The Musical at the Viaduct Theater in 2010, and its subsequent 4/20 mountings in 2011 at Studio BE and 2012 at Stage 773. Past directing and assistant directing credits include And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, Pippin, Nine, The Last 5 Years, and performing in Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Since graduating, William was an artistic associate with The Orchard Project's 2007 session in Hunter, NY, a production assistant for 2008's The 24-Hour Musicals at Joe's Pub, and the business management assistant at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2011. He currently resides in Edgewater and can be found on Twitter @mwilliampanek.

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