Shakespeare & Company's Midsummer Night's Celebration a Hit!

Shakespeare & Company's Midsummer Night's Celebration a Hit!

Shakespeare & Company's Midsummer Night's Celebration, held last weekend, was a magical and unforgettable evening that celebrated the Bard's 450th birthday and the Company's 37thseason. Artistic Director Tony Simotes and Co-Chairs Phoebe Giddon and Deborah Ryan presented an enchanting evening with a New Orleans Jazz Era theme, and welcomed over 250 guests to the Tina Packer Playhouse. Guests of Honor included Governor Deval Patrick and Shakespeare & Company's newly appointed Executive Director Rick Dildine.

The Benefit Celebration raised over $115,000 for The Company's wide-reaching and nationally recognized Training and Education Programs. Artistic Director Tony Simotes and Board Chair Sarah Hancock recognized Governor Deval Patrick for his advocacy and strong support of the cultural sector throughout the Commonwealth, presented with a framed photo collage of his past visits to the Company and thanked him for his continued support over his tenure.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of a Company that has been a part of my whole life as a theatre artist," said Rick Didline, the Company's newly appointed Executive Director. "I have watched from a far and to know now that I get to join you on this hallowed ground is very, very exciting." Dildine will begin work with the Shakespeare & Company this September.

The evening began with a cocktail reception and silent auction at the Tina Packer Playhouse with New Orleans-style jazz music by Jon Suters and Friends, leading into a delicious buffet dinner catered by Firefly and inspired by the New Orleans setting. It was followed by the opening performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tony Simotes. After the performance, guests enjoyed a decadent 450th Birthday chocolate cake creation made by Josh Needleman of Chocolate Springs, and danced the night away with music by DJ Max Lagonia.

Celebration Committee:
Phoebe Giddon and Deborah Ryan, Co-Chairs; Katherine Abraham, Gail Bleifer, Joan Buccino, Janet Carey, Dr. Gerald & Roberta Friedman, Ralph & Audrey Friedner, Dr. Donald Giddon, Susan & Richard Grausman, Sarah Hancock, Carole & Gordon Hyatt, Govane Lohbauer, Jane and Richard Mescon, Michael A. and Annette Miller, Kate & Joel Millonzi, Carolyn Newberger, Helga Orthofer, Tori Rhoades, Bill Ryan, Chuck & Karen Schader, Sol Schwartz in memory of Elayne P. Bernstein, Barry & Marjorie Shapiro, David Smith & Ranny Cooper, Harriet Vines, Marian Warden, and Dorothy Altman Weber & Stephen Weber.

About Shakespeare & Company
Located in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978 by Tina Packer, the organization attracts more than 60,000 patrons annually, with a core of over 150 artists and more than 30 full-time staff. The Company develops and performs Shakespeare, classics, contemporary, and new plays of social and political significance, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors and designers of all races, nationalities and backgrounds. Shakespeare & Company embraces the core values of Shakespeare's work: collaboration, commitment to language, visceral experience and classical ideals, expressed with physical prowess and an embodied contemporary voice.

The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, where professionals from all over the world come to train with the Organization known for its original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods. Shakespeare & Company is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program, one of the largest the Northeast; it reaches more than 45,000 students annually with innovative performances, workshops and residencies. For more information, please visit

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