Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Family Events, Including Free Theatre and Family Friday Workshops


Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic Director Jenny Gersten announced today two family programs for the 2012 season: the 25th Anniversary Production of Free Theatre, The Valley of Fear adapted by Steve Lawson from the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the inaugural year of the Family Friday Workshops, which gives young people aged 8-14 an inside look at the Festival.

The Valley of Fear marks the 25th anniversary of WTF’s annual Free Theatre. Steve Lawson returns for his 41st season at WTF to adapt this classic Sherlock Holmes caper originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The show will run from July 11-14 and July 17-20 on Poker Flats Field.

The Valley of Fear is directed by Lila Neugebauer. The cast includes Chris Bannow as Dr. John Watson, Whitney Maris Brown as Mrs. Hudson, Eric Clem as Cecil Barker/Ted Baldwin, Michael Bradley Cohen as Sherlock Holmes, Harry Ford as Inspector MacDonald/Bodymaster McGinty, Alex Gould as SgT. White Mason/Morris, Jeff Hathcoat as Ames/Mike Scanlan, Maura Hooper as Ivy Douglas, Caitlin Morris as Mrs. Allen/Mrs. Shafter, and Alexander Seife as John Douglas/Jack McMurdo. The ensemble features Jacob Basri, Brock Bivens, Jeff Deglow, Emily Hunt, Braden Joyce-Schleimer, Mat Leonard, Alex Marz, Jack Mitchell, Michael Ruocco, Kerry Sheridan, and Chris Stahl.

In 1987, WTF launched the popular Free Theatre with A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes saga. Twenty-five years later, the legendary sleuth is back in this exciting new theatrical version of Conan Doyle’s final novel. What strange events in America long ago lead to a corpse in a country house? Why does a sinister “valley of fear” still have the power to haunt? Put on your crime-solving cap and lend Holmes and Dr. Watson a hand in The Valley of Fear! Gasps —and laughs— guaranteed for all.

The creative team includes Yu Shabagaki (Scenic Design), Barbara Samuels (Lighting Design), Asta Hostetter (Costume Design), and Anna-Lee Craig (Sound Design). Lauren Batson is the Production Stage Manager.

This year, WTF introduces a new program called Family Friday Workshops which offers kids and their families a behind-the-scenes look at all that happens at the Festival each summer.

Young people aged 8-14, and their families, can join us for a series of free afternoon workshops that will explore the realms of playwriting, improv, costume design, technical tricks, and more that are part of daily creative life at the Festival. Each session will feature a mix of activities targeted for kids aged 8-10 and 11-14. Workshops will be led by professional Festival artists and members of the WTF Apprentice Company.

Space is limited and reservations are strongly recommended for all workshops. Contact the Festival Box Office at 413-597-3400 to reserve. All sessions will start in the ‘62 Center Lobby at 4pm and all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. After the afternoon workshops, we encourage you to enjoy a family picnic on the theater lawn before attending an evening performance. For Friday evening Main Stage performances, families can get one free ticket for a child 18 or under with each full-price adult ticket purchased.

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