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James Loehlin, Director 208 West 21st Street, Stop B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4726

Shakespeare at Winedale Announces 2011 Summer Tour

Posted: June 19, 2011
Isto Barton plucks a white rose to signify the beginning of the Wars of the Roses cycle in Henry VI part 1.

Isto Barton plucks a white rose to signify the beginning of the Wars of the Roses cycle in Henry VI part 1.

Like Shakespeare’s occasionally itinerant players, the 2011 Shakespeare at Winedale summer class will take their performances on the road as part of the final piece of their study of Shakespeare through performance. After concluding four weekends of public performances at the Winedale Historic Center near Round Top, TX, the troupe will perform Hamlet at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, Texas on Friday, August 12th at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $10 for students/UT ID holders. The class will then hold performances of Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3, at the SAC Black Box Theater on the University of Texas campus in Austin, TX, on Monday, August 15th and Tuesday, August 16th. Both performances are at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 for general admission or $10 for students/UT ID holders. The tour will wrap up with a final performance of As You Like It on the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars stage in Staunton, Virginia on Monday, August 22nd at 7:30pm; admission is free. Tickets for these events may be ordered online or by contacting Liz Fisher at (512) 471-4726 or lfisher@mail.utexas.edu.

Shakespeare at Winedale, housed in the College of Liberal Arts at UT, was founded in 1970 by professor James B. Ayres, who believed the best way to understand Shakespeare’s plays was through performing them. Over the years the program has developed a unique “page-to-stage” approach to the exploration of Shakespeare’s works, and evolved into a multi-faceted educational program including a three-month summer course dedicated to bringing the texts to life through the creative act of play.

Preceding the tour, students participate in a summer course on Shakespeare through performance in residence at the Winedale Historical Complex, located near Round Top, Texas, and hold performances in a converted nineteenth-century hay barn.

This year’s season will be among one of the program’s largest and most diverse. “We’ve only done four plays in one previous summer, so this is a big challenge for us,” said program director James Loehlin, “but we’re very excited to be presenting such great plays in the 41st year of Shakespeare at Winedale.”

As You Like It is “a perennial favorite at Winedale—its music, laughter, and Forest of Arden setting make it a perfect play to stage in the barn,” said Loehlin. The play touches on the redemptive quality of nature, mistaken identities, reconciliation, and love.  It’s a rich comedy  which bears a cast of Shakespeare’s most colorful characters and features his oft-quoted “All the World’s a Stage” speech.  On tour it will be performed in the Blackfriars Playhouse, a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre located in the Shenandoah Valley in Staunton, VA., the home of the American Shakespeare Center.

Juxtaposing the joy of As You Like It is The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a dark and haunting tragedy. Tormented by his father’s untimely death, the young prince Hamlet is forced to grapple with his own fears and uncertainties. Often hailed the greatest play ever written, Hamlet is “a ghost story, a murder mystery, a tale of tragic love, and anything but overrated,” according to Loehlin.  Hamlet will be performed at Winedale and at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, a theatre and arts center in downtown Dallas.

Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3 will conclude Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses trilogy, a project started by last summer’s class with the production of Henry VI part 1. The exciting saga continues this summer as the inept King Henry futilely attempts to maintain peace amongst England’s bickering nobility. The two plays can be seen independently, but together they comprise a bloody epic punctuated by political feuds, surprisingly funny malcontents, and “Shakespeare’s first great characters: the warrior queen Margaret and the diabolical, hunchbacked Richard Gloucester, who later becomes Richard III.”  After Winedale, the plays will be performed on two successive nights in the brand new Black Box theatre at the just-opened Student Activities Center on the UT campus.

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