Shakespeare Festival Announces 2016 Season

Rick Dildine will direct the 2016 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare's classic tale of enchanted love in the woods, at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. The production is one of several exciting events, including a number of commemorative partnerships, planned by the Festival in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Bard's legacy.

Last performed at the Festival in 2002, A Midsummer Night's Dream will feature a diverse cast of actors portraying some of Shakespeare's most beloved characters. An expanded Green Show will showcase some of the city's best musical talent, and introduce new food and beverage offerings. Production dates for the Mainstage show will be announced later this month.

"This season is yet another step forward in the Festival's long-term commitment to becoming a world-class theatre company in St. Louis," said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. "These partnerships, some of which we will be announcing within the next few weeks, highlight the type of theatre company we intend to be: unexpected, collaborative, and daring."

In addition to the Mainstage production in Forest Park, the Festival will be partnering and producing the following events during the 2016 season:

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (February 19-March 12)

An original production by Festival playwright-in-residence Nancy Bell will be featured as part of the St. Louis Symphony's Family Concert Series on Feb. 21. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Bruce Longworth, the piece introduces children and families to characters and themes from the Bard's work through music and the ancient art of storytelling. The Festival will also support Symphony pieces inspired by The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Romeo and Juliet, with performances and lectures. Tickets may be purchased at www.stlsymphony.org/Shakespeare.

SHAKE 38 (April 19-23)

In addition to dozens of performances throughout the city, SHAKE 38 will feature its first headlining event with Cry Havoc. Actor/veteran Stephan Wolfert leads audiences on an interactive journey to meet Shakespeare's veterans, and confronts the difficulties today's soldiers face in leaving military service to rejoin the civilian world. The powerful one-person play speaks to the impact of theater as a tool for social change and the way the themes of Shakespeare's 400-year-old works resonate meaningfully in modern life. For a pay-what-you-will donation to the Festival, St. Louis will be invited to this performance on April 23.

Shakespeare in the Streets: Maplewood - Sept. 16-18

Local beer, donuts, bowling and the Bard will all come together as Shakespeare in the Streets heads to Maplewood. This will be the Festival's fifth year of presenting a free theatrical experience that invites St. Louis neighborhoods to tell their stories.

Education

This year's touring ensemble will spend 10 weeks (Feb. 8-April 17) bringing 50-minute versions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, supporting workshop programs, and residencies, to students throughout the state. The Festival's new early childhood program, Tales of Shakespeare, will use music and storytelling to connect the language and themes of some of Shakespeare's plays with young learners.

Details of additional commemorative partnerships with The Muny, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Sheldon and Schlafly beer are still pending and will be announced later this month.

About Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

In the past 15 years, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has attracted more than 662,000 people to its annual free performances in Forest Park. The organization has reached 288,000 students through its educational programming. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com or call 314/531-9800.

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