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BWW Interview: Bruce Thorburn Talks Directing of TWELFTH NIGHT at Stagecrafters 2nd Stage


Shakespeare Runs 10/15-10/24 in Royal Oak!

BWW Interview: Bruce Thorburn Talks Directing of TWELFTH NIGHT at Stagecrafters 2nd Stage
L to R: Tristan Rewald & Megan Welenc

Twelfth Night, the Shakespeare comedy, will run on the Stagecrafters' 2nd Stage from October 15th to 24th, 2021. The fast-paced romantic comedy with several interwoven plots involving romance, mistaken identities, and practical jokes is a favorite of Shakespeare fans and theatregoers. It's a fast, fun, and funny celebration that embraces the insanity of love. BroadwayWorld Detroit had moment to speak with the show's director, Bruce Thorburn, about the production that Thorbun quickly described as "beautiful, funny, touching, poetic, and iconic."

BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?

Bruce Thorburn: I was a theatre major as an undergrad and acted, directed, and worked in all aspects of theatre in high school, college, professionally and into my mid-twenties. After a long hiatus, pursuing a career in law and raising a family, I got the bug to return to active participation about eight years ago. I auditioned for a 2nd Stage production at Stagecrafters, in my home town of Royal Oak, and was hooked. In this latest phase of my theatre life, I've performed, directed, stage managed, served on committees and the Board at Stagecrafters and relished in the return.

How would you describe Twelfth Night in your own words?

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's best known and most performed comedies. Its place as one of the great works in Western literature is well deserved. It includes some of Shakespeare's most iconic characters, beautiful poetry and hilarious comedy.

What made you want to direct the show?

I wanted to direct this show because I love the piece and because 2nd Stage at Stagecrafters is a unique and intimate space that has been dark for 2 years. It was an opportunity to bring a wonderful work, with an incredible cast and production crew back to a venue I love.

What do you do to make a well-known Shakespeare piece fresh and keep audiences and performers entertained?

Shakespeare Himself/">Himself makes his plays fresh and keeps audiences to attend and actors to audition and perform. They keep coming back, for over 400 years. As a director, he gives you a palate and runway from which to fly.

Do you have a favorite moment or line in the show?

Too many favorite moments to list. Like choosing a favorite child. One of the many - "Better a witty fool than a foolish wit."

Why do you think Shakespeare is still so relevant today?

BWW Interview: Bruce Thorburn Talks Directing of TWELFTH NIGHT at Stagecrafters 2nd Stage
Erica Gunaca

Shakespeare is relevant today because as Harold Bloom wrote, he was the inventor of "the human being" in Western literature and play writing. His themes of psychological insight, feminism, class structure and sexual identity remain as relevant in the 21st century as they were in the 17th.

What makes this version of Twelfth Night unique?

This version of Twelfth Night blends the modern with the classic. From set, to music (some Cole Porter and a live musician) to costuming. It retains Shakespeare's language, joy and plot, but with an expertly crafted, redacted script that cuts over an hour from the usual playing time.

Why is live theatre important?

Why is live theatre important? Whoa, a loaded question! For me, at its best, live theatre is unlike any other performance/dramatic, art, be it a film, TV or a YouTube stream. It is a place where audiences can be an essential part of the experience. There is an indiscernible energy and communication between the audience and performers. Audiences are not passive observers. They are a collaborator in the experience.

Why should people come see Stagecrafters' Twelfth Night?

Whether a first time seeing a Shakespeare play or a devotee of the Bard, audiences will have great fun having a first experience with the play, or revisiting a beloved classic.

Twelfth Night runs October 15th to the 24th on the Stagecrafters 2nd Stage in Royal Oak. For more information and tickets, visit

Stagecrafters is committed to protecting the health and safety of all who work and play at the Baldwin/">Baldwin Theatre. We kindly ask everyone, vaccinated or not, to adhere to our requirement that patrons, members, and volunteers wear a mask when visiting our theatre home. Thank you for helping us keep everyone safe!

Connect with Stagecrafters on Instagram at @stagecraftersmi, on Twitter at @StagecraftersMI, and on Facebook at

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