Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' SHAKE 38 Kicks Off This Wednesday

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' SHAKE 38 Kicks Off This Wednesday

Dozens of yoga enthusiasts are expected to greet the sun as excerpts from Richard II are read, models and a photographer will fuse fashion and photography in a spin-off of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and a bluegrass band inspired by Henry V will perform at Urban Chestnut's Midtown beer garden, all part of SHAKE 38, April 22-26, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' sixth annual performance marathon inspired by William Shakespeare's 38-play canon.

Set next week at locations throughout the city, the five-day event's official kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m., April 22, at Big Club Hall in The Hill featuring a high-energy photo shoot in the upstairs studio in an adaptation of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mirroring the Festival's annual production in Forest Park, SHAKE 38 events are free and most are open to the public, with no reservations required. Visit www.sfstl.com for an up-to-date schedule. Several highlights include:

· Measure for Measure, scheduled for 4 p.m. on Fri., April 24, in SLU's Xavier Hall, presents the result of a five-month partnership between Saint Louis University and the Festival. Through video submissions of hip hop, spoken word and poetry, local and national high school and college students were invited to share their ideas on the themes of justice and equality using themes and quotes from the Bard's Measure for Measure. National partners include students from Lincoln Center Education's Poet-Linc program, Urban Word NYC, MCC Theatre Youth Company. A short film based on the submissions will be shown.

· At the Upstairs Gallery of 2720 Cherokee, a collaboration with SHAKE 38, Gateway Burners and St. Lou Fringe, will result in an extravagant mixer where Mad Max meets Alexander McQueen. The Lose Your Head party is set for 9:30 p.m. on Sat., April 25, and will feature selections from Shakespeare's Henry VIII, work from Fringe's Marie Antoinette-inspired art show, Gallows, and the Burner's Recompression Party.

· An opera performance based on Troilus & Cressida, created specifically for SHAKE 38, will occur at 5 p.m. on Sat., April 25, at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

Recognized this year with the Excellence in the Arts Award from the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, the Festival has attracted more than 640,000 people to its annual main stage show In the Park. The organization has reached 270,000 students In the Schools through its educational programming and, in 2012, shut down its first street, Cherokee, to present a community-based play In the Streets. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Regional Arts Commission, SHAKE38.com launched on April 23, 2014, Shakespeare's 450th birthday. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com or call 314-531-9800.

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