Points of Inspiration: Shakespeare for Community Theaters

As a follow up to our previous post, Reinventing the Wheel, we’ve decided to highlight a few theatre companies that are finding new tools and ways to make the (re)imagined real! We hope that these examples become points of inspiration for you and your community theatre organization.

As previously mentioned, writers, artists, directors and actors have used his plots and characters as exceptional models and standards of excellence. In fact, the core and essence of his works are so fundamental to human beings that it is unlikely that the trend of reimagining his works will ever go “out of style.”

Changeling Theatre

This company was founded in 1997 to produce high quality, entertaining theatre for community audiences across South East England. They host a very popular Annual Summer Shakespeare Tour, most recently presenting Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It to local audiences in the Kent region. They work with new writers and composers to reinvent and rejuvenate the classics of theatre. To find out more about Changeling Theatre click here.

Unseam’d Shakespeare Company

This Pittsburgh-based professional theatre company is “dedicated to rediscovering and reinventing classic and classically inspired plays for modern audiences and presenting these plays in artistically ambitious and innovative productions.” The have previously presented works such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. On occasion they present adapted works of the classics. To find out more about the Unseam’d Shakespeare Company click here.

REV Theatre Company

REV Theatre Company “brings a fresh contemporary vision to existing dramatic works and company created new pieces.” They regularly undertake performances in urban parks and public spaces, include music from varied time periods, and feature stark and stripped down designs to construct a world of juxtaposed components. They recently presented their critically acclaimed urban version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in parking lots on the Lower East Side, a pier on the Hudson River, urban parks in Scranton and the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. To find out more about REV click here.

While these three companies are just a few of many to reimagine the Bard, it’s also of note that the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. recently hosted a backstage tour of four centuries of Shakespeare in performance. With historic costumes, set designs, videos and letters, the exhibit traced the entertaining and poignant stage histories of Othello, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In reference to this exhibit, Eric Minton of Shakespeareances (link) noted that “Shakespeare’s words have never been more modern or more theatrical than when they are acted in the environment he himself wrote for 400 years ago.”

Have I convinced you yet? Has your company recently presented a production of one of Shakespeare’s plays? We’d love to hear about it, so leave us a comment below!

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