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Orlando Shakes Earns Actor's Union Approval For Return To Live Theater At Lake Eola Park

After 15 years, Orlando Shakes in partnership with UCF returns to Lake Eola Park, this time for a magical production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Orlando Shakes Earns Actor's Union Approval For Return To Live Theater At Lake Eola Park

Orlando Shakes in partnership with UCF gained approval from the national professional actors union, the Actors' Equity Association (AEA), for an enchanting production under the stars filled with laughter and romance.

Orlando Shakes will make a spectacular return to live theater at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (March 31 - April 17, 2021). Tickets (starting at $22) for A Midsummer Night's Dream are available now by phone (407) 447-1700 ext. 1 or online at orlandoshakes.org.

In order to create the safest possible environment for actors returning to work, Orlando Shakes negotiated with AEA to approve a 30 page document outlining a safety plan, developed with the help of Orlando Shakes' Official Healthcare Partner AdventHealth. The safety plan includes regulations such as masks, social distancing on stage, standards for regular sanitizing of surfaces (including costumes and props), and frequent testing of union actors and the staff with whom they interact.

"We are proud to be one of the first theater's to work with Equity to bring live theater back to the stage, while still protecting the safety of all of our performers," Managing Director Douglas Love-Ramos says. "COVID-19 has proved to be a grave obstacle for theater companies in buildings around the world, but we know how to successfully produce outside. Thanks to the support of the City of Orlando, we are able to return to the stage with our large-scale professional productions. We are going back to our roots at Lake Eola where it's safer for everyone - artists and patrons.."

After the pandemic shut the theater down in March 2020, Orlando Shakes returns to their original home at Lake Eola Park for the first time in 15 years. Orlando Shakes got its start as the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, performing an annual season of Shakespeare at Lake Eola in 1989.. To accommodate social distancing for all parties, the Walt Disney Amphitheater will be sold at 30% capacity.

Orlando Shakes kicks off their return to Lake Eola park with a production of the Bard's beloved romcom, A Midsummer Night's Dream. When magical, mischief-maker Puck gets a hold of a love potion, he sets in motion all the comical antics that arise from four young lovers' adventure through the woods. Audiences will be immersed in a land of fairies featuring glittering lights and gilded foliage. Dazzling and romantic verse defines Shakespeare's classic comedy that charms everyone who enters its mystical realm. A classical Grecian design sets the stage for a tale of love and laughter in a dreamlike evening under the stars at Lake Eola.

"Shakespeare's comedy of star crossed lovers is sure to bring joy to all those who see it," Jim Helsinger, artistic director at Orlando Shakes and director of this production, says. "Over the years, many first dates and romances have sparked at Shakes productions down at the lake. Actually, my wife and I met during a production of As You Like It there. We hope to inspire just as many people to meet old friends and make new romances while they enjoy Shakespeare under the stars."

Jim Helsinger has been the Artistic Director of Orlando Shakes since 1995. Notable directing credits include Monty Python's Spamalot starring Broadway's Davis Gaines; The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts 1 & 2 (named Top Ten Regional productions by the Wall Street Journal); and the world premiere of a modern verse edition of The Adventures of Pericles as a part of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's national Play On! initiative. He is a Past President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, a recipient of the Sidney Berger Award for outstanding talent and dedication to the works of William Shakespeare, and the "50 Most Powerful People 2019" award from Orlando Magazine.

Alongside Director Jim Helsinger, A Midsummer Night Dream's creative team includes Associate Director Joshian Morales, Scenic Designer Bert Scott**, Lighting Designer Philip Lupo, Costume Designer Denise R. Warner, Sound Designer Britt Sandusky, and Vocal Coach Vivan Majkowski.

**Member of United Scenic Artists

All events produced by Orlando Shakes will follow health and safety guidelines and policies set by local and national government officials. Safety protocols include social distancing, face coverings, and temperature checks. The most up-to-date safety information for all of Orlando Shakes' in-person offerings can be found at: https://www.orlandoshakes.org/visit-us/frequently-asked-questions/safety/

"Through collaborating with our Official Healthcare Partner AdventHealth, we have developed a safety plan that will help protect our performers, staff, and patrons," says Managing Director Douglas Love-Ramos. "We won't let the arts in Orlando be a casualty of the pandemic. We are a big part of what makes living in Central Florida so great. We can't wait for this homecoming to celebrate that."



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