Eastern Kentucky University Theatre, in a co-production with Kentucky Conservatory Theatre’s 10th annual Summerfest, is bringing Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” to the Richmond campus.
Two performances, free to the public Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23, at 8 p.m. nightly in the Ravine, serve as the culmination to EKU Theatre’s Summer Shakespeare Celebration.
With its focus on community, education, and theatre, the Celebration brings the works of Shakespeare to life for audiences of all ages. In addition to the free public performances, this year’s community engagement includes:
• High School Summer Theatre Intensive, July 17-23, a six-day residential program for high school students, with EKU academic credit available to qualifying students.
• Shakespeare Alive! July 23: A community-wide festival featuring workshops, guest artists and community performances.
• Teacher’s Institute for Living Shakespeare Pilot Project, July 23. The workshop gives teachers practical tools that will engage students with the living words of the Bard, including lectures, workshops, behind-the-scenes access to rehearsals and the public performance of a professional production.
“As You Like It,” to be performed in Lexington’s Summerfest in Woodland Park before it moves to Richmond, will be directed by EKU faculty member Matthew Lewis Johnson and feature EKU theatre students in design, stage management and acting positions.
“It was important to us to produce a professional quality show and offer it to the community free of charge,” Johnson said. “Co-producing with Summerfest was the perfect opportunity to provide hands-on learning for the High School Intensive, the Teacher’s Institute and our students while providing free Shakespeare, all in a festive atmosphere. We are giving several of our students their first professional experience alongside some of the best actors and technicians in the area.”
Shakespeare’s comic exploration of gender, romance, betrayal, class, and redemption was originally produced in a company of all men. In this production, the company is all women.
“The refraction of meaning and theme promises to be spirited,” Johnson said. “With live music and audience interaction, high comedy and professional wrestling, a gender-bent cast and some of the most beautiful language in the canon, our show will be a fun evening for the whole family at the Ravine.”
KCT Executive Director Wes Nelson said Kentucky Conservatory Theatre is “thrilled to collaborate with the faculty and students of the EKU theater department. This is an excellent opportunity for these young artists to utilize their classroom training in a real world setting. As a graduate of the EKU theater program, I am proud to be a part of creating this new venture. It is my hope that this will be the beginning of a long-lasting partnership between Kentucky Conservatory Theatre and Eastern Kentucky University. There are endless possibilities for what our joint efforts can bring to central Kentucky and the arts community as a whole.”
To apply for the High School Summer Intensive or the Teachers Institute or learn more information, visit www.ekutheatre.com. Scholarship funds are available for the Summer Intensive; more information is available on the website.