Shakespeare & Company to Welcome Shakespeare Birthplace Trustees, 8/17
Shakespeare & Company will host four Shakespeare on the Road travelers this weekend as part of that group's 14-Festival, 60-day, 10,000-mile road trip to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. From England, traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada, the visitors will be welcomed with a celebration open to the public at 12:45pm on Sunday, August 17th. The FREE event is in the Shakespeare Garden at Shakespeare & Company's Lenox campus. Come join Artistic Director Tony Simotes, Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, and the Shakespeare & Company Community as they welcome four representatives of England's Shakespeare Birthplace Trustees.
"As we celebrate our 37th season with productions of both Shakespeare and contemporary writers, we are pleased to welcome our friends from abroad to our home here in the Berkshires," says Artistic Director Tony Simotes. "We honor our namesake and the genius of his revolutionary playwriting abilities through our innovative teaching and training approach for both professional actors and students. We are honored to be one of the Shakespeare Festivals here in the United States to be singled out to receive this international recognition by the Birthplace Trust of Stratford-upon-Avon in England."
The traveling team includes Dr. Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon; Dr. Paul Prescott, Reader in English at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom; AJ Leon, Founder and Chief Maker of Trouble at the "nomadic creative shop" Misfit, Inc.; and Melissa Leon, Chief of Staff at Misfit, Inc. They began their road trip on July 4 at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City and will finish it in Washington, D.C., just after Labor Day. The other 12 Festivals the Shakespeare On The Road team will stop at include, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare at Winedale, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Will Geer's Theatricum, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Montana Shakespeare Festival, Bozeman, Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Harlem Shakespeare Festival, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, American Shakespeare Center, and Shakespeare Theatre Company.
"It is very exciting that Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust is reaching out to American Shakespeare theatre companies," says Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. "The birthplace of Shakespeare, the places where he lived, the walks he took, the homes of relatives- this heritage belongs to Shakespeare lovers everywhere. We are so moved that the people from the Shakespeare Trust have chosen to visit Shakespeare & Company personally. We so look forward to Dr Paul Edmondson, Dr. Paul Prescott, AJ Leon and Melissa Leon being in The Berkshires, giving us an opportunity to show them our work- not just the productions, but the Teachers Workshops, Shakespeare & Young Company, Training programs and other places here in our hills- so they can experience first hand our rich cultural heritage. We hope this will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation between ourselves and The Birthplace Trust that will stretch years into the future."
At the ceremony, the Shakespeare on the Road travelers will present Shakespeare & Company with a commemorative plaque made from a piece of a cedar tree that grew in the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. During their weekend in the Berkshires, Shakespeare on the Road members will get an in-depth look at Shakespeare & Company, onstage, behind the scenes and within its community.
12:45 - 1:45pm - Ceremony in the Shakespeare Garden including monologues and other works by long-time Shakespeare & Company actors; speeches by Tony Simotes, Tina Packer and the Trust representatives; Plaque presentation to Shakespeare & Company and a closing monologue. This event is free and open to the public. 2pm - 5pm - Guests are invited to continue the celebration by purchasing tickets for a matinee production of Henry IV, Parts I & II, which the Shakespeare on the Road travelers will be attending. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.shakespeare.org, or by calling the Box Office at (413) 637-3353, or by stopping by in person at 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA.