Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE Plays People's Light & Theatre, Now thru 3/3

People's Light & Theatre presents William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, running tonight, January 31-March 3, 2013 on the Main Stage. Guy Hollands directs. People's Light & Theatre is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, Penn. For tickets call 610.644.3500 or visit PeoplesLight.org.

People's Light and Theatre invites young and old alike to escape the chill of the season, grab a cup of hot cider, and gather to experience a story full of wonder that is "best for winter." For this production, internationally acclaimed director Guy Hollands imagines a traveling community of artisans and musicians that have journeyed to Malvern to perform Shakespeare's tale of betrayal, forgiveness, and renewal as part of a festival event that celebrates the seasonal turn from winter to spring.

The Winter's Tale is a story full of passion, friendship, jealousy, untimely death, adventures, shipwrecks, bear attacks, disguises, young lovers, tricksters, clowns, and miraculous events of renewal and rebirth. Written towards the end of Shakespeare's career, it contains elements found in the best of his tragedies - a jealous king rages when he suspects his wife of infidelity, tyranny tears a court and family apart, and the untimely death of a beloved child causes an anguish that brings a certain clarity to what is important in life. But unlike Othello or King Lear, Shakespeare turns this dark and cold tale towards spring and offers us joy, music, dance, reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness that begin at a seasonal festival. It is this celebration of nature's turn to spring, echoed in character journeys and the narrative of Shakespeare's play, that inspired Holland's production vision.

Before becoming the Associate Director of Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Hollands headed TAG, a pioneering youth company dedicated to making theatre with and for young people. When Hollands first encountered the community at People's Light in 2011, he was struck by the company's way of "meaningfully engaging young people in the life of the theatre." The courage, eager engagement, and mutual artistic respect among the veteran actors and young artists that Hollands discovered among the company at People's Light, combined with his interest in exploring the folk performers that appear at the seasonal festival in the play, has inspired his vision to create a Winter Festival that will be built around the performance of The Winter's Tale. "What I really wanted," Hollands explains, "was for this production not to be just another production of a great Shakespeare play. But that it should be something much more than that, which fully engages lots of people involved in the company, particularly the young people, as they're so much a part of the work here and in the community." This festival will offer audiences the opportunity to engage in an event that is bigger than a typical practice of coming to a theatre to watch a play.

The unique campus of People's Light will be transformed into festival grounds, lit with hand-crafted lanterns, and members of the imagined traveling troupe (who are also members of The Winter's Tale cast) will meet audiences before they enter into the theater building with hot cider and invite them to participate in festival activities before the formal performance begins. Audience members will also be invited to join the cast for post-show revelry at The Farmhouse Bistro restaurant connected to People's Light's Main Stage building.

The Winter's Tale previews tonight, January 31 at 7:30 pm and Friday, February 1 at 8 pm. The play opens on Saturday, February 2 at 8 pm and runs through March 3. Audiences are encouraged to join the artists for a conversation about the production after the Thursday performances on February 14, 21, and 28.

People's Light continues its program called Scoop on Sundays: History, Context, and Gossip, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7 pm performance. An artist will discuss the world of the play, how and why it was chosen, as well as how it was cast, designed, and rehearsed. The program begins at 5:30 in The Farmhouse Bistro. Cost of $15 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610-644-3500 or visit PeoplesLight.org to reserve.

Single tickets: $25 - $45. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call 610.647.1900 x134 or email charles@peopleslight.org.

Three play packages are still available for the 2012-2013 Season for only $96. Remaining productions in the season include The Winter's Tale (January 31-March 3, 2013), The Trip to Bountiful (March 13- April 7, 2013), Barcelona (May 29-June 23, 2013) and Noises Off (July 10-August 4, 2013). One other production remains in the PNC Arts Alive Discovery Series and includes Stargirl (April 20-May 12, 2013).




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