UNTO THE BREACH Set for Tennessee Shakespeare Tonight
Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South's professional classical theatre, presents an original production of Unto the Breach! The Un-Common Courage of William Shakespeare on stage tonight, September 7 at 7:30 pm and September 10 at 7:00 pm at Germantown Performing Arts Center to benefit the restoration of classical education programming to the Company's community schoolrooms.
Arranged and performed by TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary and resident actor/Education Director Stephanie Shine,Unto the Breach! will also feature the Memphis return of violinist Susanna Perry Gilmore (formerly with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, now concertmaster with the Omaha Symphony) and Barry Gilmore on guitar, hammered dulcimer, and percussion.
In addition to the September 7 and 10 public performances, the Benefit will play a special all-school matinee on September 10 at 7:00 pm with discounted school tickets made possible by TSC's sponsors. A talk-back with the actors and musicians will follow the performance.
Children 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE for both public performance when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Limit four per guardian.
Benefit tickets are $30, and seating is general admission. Press Opening is September 7 at 7:30 pm. General Admission tickets may be purchased now at (901) 759-0604 or www.tnshakespeare.org.
Actors McCleary and Shine (Gertrude in TSC's acclaimed Hamlet), a real-life married couple, share the stage for the first time together in this fun and moving 90-minute performance that explores the courage of William Shakespeare through his plays' characters: the courage of the heart, of conviction, of creativity, and of forgiveness. McCleary and Shine have more than 55 collective years of playing Shakespeare on stage, including more than 30 major/title roles.
The Gilmores, also a real-life married couple, are founding members of TSC, having performed in the inaugural productions of As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream. They have performed in their own Celtic band, Planet Reel, for many years, with Mrs. Gilmore long-acclaimed for her virtuoso work on the violin for more than two decades in symphonic and chamber orchestras.
Live Celtic and classical music will weave together scenes from King Lear, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, Coriolanus, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Love's Labor's Lost, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Henry V.
"When TSC lost substantial funding for our education programming in the classrooms for this year, we put the call out to our patrons and friends to lend us their support as they could," explains McCleary. "Our elected officials and TSC received over 200 letters and calls of support. Scores of supporters showed at City Hall to speak on TSC's behalf. Our friends at ArtsMemphis lept into the breach with us, and then the National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest recognized TSC as one of just 40 theatre companies in the United States as having an education and performance program worthy of receiving a substantial matching grant. This was deeply heartening and very helpful, but we still need additional funds to ensure we can provide a substantial level of education service in our community. That's when we came up with the idea for a benefit performance inspired by our supporters. Courage was the theme.
"It is true that we have fought mightily for our funding to be sustained, but in hearing children speak on our behalf and in observing the quiet grace and steely resolve of so many supporters, I was reminded of Shakespeare's many faces of courage. It isn't just the courage to fight. Sometimes he examines the courage it takes to shift one's philosophy, to admit a wrong, to break rules in order to create something new, to will a thing into being, and to forgive others. So, this piece will benefit our education restoration, but we also hope it will be a reminder to all of us of how courage can be a revolutionary force. We also plan on it being a fun and light evening, especially with Susanna and Barry returning to play with us live on stage. The text will share the space with music that is beautiful, traditional, and enlivening."