2017 New Orleans Shakespeare Festival Reaches Out To New Audiences

Shakespeare's work was never meant to be an elite form of art. In fact, he wrote for all of London's citizens. To celebrate that, the Festival will open its 24th season to the entire community - even touring one of the mainstage shows to underserved audiences and a prison.

Five events will make up the 2017 season:

A production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in partnership with Cripple Creek Theatre Company, will run June 2-18, 2017 after touring to local community organizations and a prison.

A production of Shakespeare's The Tempest will run July 7-23, 2017.

A play reading series will take place on two nights: Titus Andronicus on June 7 and Othello on July 12.

Twelfth Night, recorded live at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and starring Mark Rylance, will be screened on July 13.

A one night only collaboration with The NOLA Project, entitled By Any Scenes Necessary, will spoof Romeo & Juliet on July 19.

"The Festival is committed to presenting a diverse, exciting, and accessible season to the Gulf South" said Clare Moncrief, the Festival's Managing Director. Emilie Whelan, Co Artistic Director of Cripple Creek and director of The Taming of the Shrew, said, "We are honored to bring exquisite theater to new audiences that traditionally do not have accessibility to Shakespeare or theater at all."

The Festival will open in June with a production of The Taming of the Shrew in collaboration with Cripple Creek Theatre Company. This unique production will tour to underserved audiences - including a prison - before it opens the 24th season. A bawdy comedy that turns raw and heartbreaking, The Taming of the Shrew confronts the intimate makings of a servant. As Petruchio sets out to "tame" the full Katherina - and men vie for the affections of the dutiful Bianca - themes of disguise, subversion, and costume run rampant. Emilie Whelan will direct.

In July the Festival will produce Shakespeare's late play The Tempest. Wrongly accused and exiled for twelve years, Prospero sets out for revenge. However, he finds redemption in the process. Both magical and moving, Shakespeare's masterpiece questions what it means to love and to forgive. It's a tale that the whole family will enjoy.

Actors Michael Newcomer and Elizabeth Elkins-Newcomer will spearhead a new play reading series for the Festival. Recruiting some of the region's most respected talent - and a few surprise guests - they will present two of Shakespeare's works for one night only. Titus Andronicus will be presented on June 7 and Othello will be read on July 12.

For the first time, the Festival will screen a recording of The Globe Theatre's recent hit production of Twelfth Night. The all-star cast features Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance - who won a Tony Award for his performance. With an all-male Original Practices production, this staging played to sold-out audiences on both sides of the pond.

The Festival will round out the season by again partnering with New Orleans' hottest ensemble theatre company, The NOLA Project, for a unique, one night only event. Back by popular demand, By Any Scenes Necessary is a riotous theatre/improv hybrid that will attempt to recreate Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet ...without a script.

The Festival is offering an early bird special on all ticket packages: 10% off from now until March 31. Individual tickets go on sale April 1. Discounts are available for students, teachers, seniors, and Tulane employees.

The 24th season of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane will run from June 2-July 23 in the Lupin Theater on the Tulane uptown campus. All performances are at 7:30 pm, except for 1:30 pm matinees on Sundays.

More details can be found at www.neworleansshakespeare.org.

The mission of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane is to produce professional, classical theatre with a primary focus upon the works of William Shakespeare. Our commitment is to utilize local, national, and international talent to create dynamic, visceral, text-based performances celebrating Shakespeare's brilliant insight into the human condition. With this programming we will provide to the people of the Gulf South both entertainment and educational resources of the highest quality, honoring Shakespeare's legacy.

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