Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre Announces 20th Anniversary 'Shakesperience' Season

By: Jan. 15, 2016
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In a year filled with celebrations around the world commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre ushers in its 20th Anniversary Season with three mainstage productions, the Classical Acting Academy, a killer FringeArts Festival run of Kill Will, a *NEW* Actors Season, and special events and lectures spread throughout the year.

The Theatre's anniversary also marks the celebration of over 50 Shakespeare plays produced on its stage, serving over 110,000 regular ticket buyers and 100,000 school students with its exceptional productions and critically acclaimed education programs.

"Over the past 20 years, Shakespeare's plays have created laughter and tears, epiphanies and moments of profound reflection on our stage. Audiences were able to exercise their creativity as we explored the encyclopedic and symphonic universe of our most delicate and subtle human feelings that only Shakespeare could express so beautifully," says Artistic / Executive Director, Carmen Khan. "We are thrilled to share this and more as we journey into the next 20 years and beyond."

In the spring of 2016, Shakespeare's Macbeth and Twelfth Night hit the Theatre's mainstage in repertory style, directed by Artistic / Executive Director, Carmen Khan. Macbeth (April 1-May 21) is Shakespeare's dark play about murder and the impossibility of ever returning to any kind of peace of mind afterwards. Alternating on different nights with the same cast, Shakespeare's irresistible romantic comedy, Twelfth Night (April 14-May 22), transports audiences to Illyria - a topsy turvy place, where everything is turned upside down and nothing is what it seems. Closing the mainstage performances in the fall of 2016, The Merchant of Venice (Oct. 19-Nov. 13) comes back to The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre's stage for the first time in 20 years. Directed by Carmen Khan, the production will feature "Original Staging Practices" allowing audiences to interact with the work in similar ways that original audiences would have engaged with Shakespeare's works.

Now in its 10th year, The Classical Acting Academy (CAA) is a summertime favorite of audiences. The CAA is the only one of its kind in the region dedicated to training early career professionals in the techniques of Shakespeare performance. During a period of eight weeks, actors will work with a seasoned director, text and acting coaches, and a combat director in a professional setting. The experience will culminate in a full, three-week production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (July 27-Aug.14) presented to the public at reduced-admission.

Returning to the stage for the 2016 FringeArts Festival, The Theatre's popular production of Kill Will (Sept. 13-17) by Derek Davidson, will feature Shakespeare's best "bloody bits" and a collection of killer fight scenes from his most famous plays. As 2016 comes to a close, The Theatre introduces its inaugural Actors Season (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) with a production of The Comedy of Errors. The Actors Season will operate under similar conditions thought to be used during the time of Shakespeare and other Renaissance actors and producers. Without a director, actors will have just 40 hours for producing the show. This differs from Original Practices where a director is employed.

Special events and lectures are scheduled throughout the 2016 season, to include: "Shakespeare in Love: Open Mic Poetry Night" (Feb. 12), celebrating the greatest love poets from around the world; the return of the "Shakespeare in the World Lecture Series" led by Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Annalisa Castaldo, featuring four topics ranging from "Troilus and Cressida: The Best Shakespeare Play You've Never Heard Of!" to "Titus Andronicus: The Elizabethan Chainsaw Massacre"; and a special one-hour, "Macbeth on the Couch" therapy session led by noted psychologist, Dr. Dan Gottlieb of WHYY (April 19), featuring a marriage counseling session with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth!


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