Shakespeare Celebration Set for Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series, 10/4

The Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series plays, acts and dances a happy 450th birthday to William Shakespeare in a Bard's Birthday Bash with Scenes, Sonnets, Music and Dance with Members of Piffaro and Guests on Saturday, October 4 at 8:30 p.m. at Thomas Great Hall. Piffaro, playing reconstructions of Renaissance instruments such as shawms, dulcians, sackbuts, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps and a variety of percussion, perform music of Shakespeare's time including old English ballads, instrumental fantasies and country dances, some with direct connections to his plays. The program will weave in scenes from some of Shakespeare's most popular plays directed by Barrymore Award-winning director James J. Christy and performed by leading local actors. The celebration concludes with dancing, taught to the audience by Renaissance dancing master Dorothy Olsson.

Regular and flex subscriptions to the five-program series are available for $90 each, $75 for seniors. Tickets to individual events are $20, $18 for seniors, $10 for students and Dance Pass holders, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets, subscriptions and more information are available online through Brown Paper Tickets, at or by calling 610-526-5210.

"We are very excited to be kicking off our season with a rousing Shakespeare celebration. The fabulous acoustics and baronial atmosphere of Thomas Great Hall are the perfect combination for recreating scenes from Shakespeare, music from the Renaissance period, and participatory dances of the time, complete with a festive spread of birthday cake and other treats," said Performing Arts Series Coordinator Lisa Kraus.

Hailed as the pied-pipers of Early Music, tours throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and South America, Piffaro performs music of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods on a variety of early wind instruments augmented by percussion and strings and group members have appeared as performers and instructors at major Early Music festivals. Under the artistic direction of Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken, the group has received the Early Music Brings History Alive award and the Laurette Goldberg Lifetime Achievement Award in Early Music Outreach. The ensemble has released 16 CDs with Deutsch Grammophon, Dorian Recordings, Newport Classic, Navona Records, and under their own label.

James J. Christy has directed more than 20 Shakespeare productions for companies including Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and the Virginia Shakespeare Festival as well as King Lear and Anthony and Cleopatra at Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, and The Merchant of Venice at People's Light & Theatre Company. The winner of Barrymore Awards for both Take Me Out and The Laramie Project at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Christy was honored with the Barrymore Award for Lifetime Achievement, a highlight of his long career as a director and educator in Philadelphia. He is a Professor Emeritus at Villanova University where he taught theatre for 39 years.

The evening concludes with the audience up on their feet in a true Shakespearean "masque." Those who choose to join in will take part as renowned Renaissance dance master Dorothy Olsson teaches Baroque dance steps while food and drink are on offer. Founder and director of the New York Historical Dance Company, Dorothy J. Olsson has given numerous workshops in historical dance and has choreographed for and/or performed with Piffaro, the Folger Consort, Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, SUNY Stony Brook, Mannes Camerata, Wake Forest University and Princeton University. Dorothy directs and teaches at the Historical Dance Program at the Amherst Early Music Festival where she has also directed several historical theatrical productions and choreographed more than thirty theatre projects or operas.

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