Returning HVSF Actors Bring ROMEO & JULIET to 16,000 Students

Our 2017 Spring Education Tour, a vibrant ROMEO & JULIET directed by Tom Ridgely, is slated to visit over 30 schools throughout the tri-state area from March to May. Supported by a National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Shakespeare in American Communities grant, HVSF will reimagine this classic tale for modern audiences in grades 6 and above – many from underserved communities – with a diverse cast of seven.

Returning to HVSF are 2016 Conservatory Company member Jessica-Brittany Smith (Juliet), 2016 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM tour’s Amanda Thickpenny (Lady Capulet), and 2015 MACBETH tour’s Jon Cook (Friar & Benvolio). Wolf CR (Mercutio), James Hesse (Romeo), Monica Jones (Nurse), and Virginia Shakespeare Festival standout Rod Singleton (Capulet & Tybalt) have also signed on.

Ridgely, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2014 Phil Killian Directing Fellow and founder of the New York-based theater ensemble Waterwell, will reimagine the Montagues and Capulets within a New England prep school environment. Sean McNall, HVSF’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education, estimates that roughly 16,000 students will experience a performance, take part in post-show talkbacks, and heighten their understanding of the production with an accompanying ROMEO & JULIET study guide. Half of this group will also benefit from an in-school, five-day residency with HVSF Teaching Artists.

“Our Education Tours take the same approach to Shakespeare as HVSF’s mainstage productions,” McNall noted. “Performances are fast-paced, athletic, energetic, and playful – an ideal equation for younger audiences – and rigorously maintain the depth and integrity of Shakespeare’s texts. We are very grateful to the NEA for their ongoing support of HVSF’s Education Programs, which encompass performance experiences, professional training, and theater education for the next generation.”

ROMEO & JULIET will run March 20 – May 5, 2017 with a possible extension May 8 – 12 and additional sum-mer dates currently in discussion. Approximate running time is 1 hour 30 minutes, including a talkback with the actors. To learn more about this touring production and HVSF’s Education programs, or to book a performance, please visit hvshakespeare.org/education or contact HVSF’s Associate Director of Education, Nora Rosoff, at (845) 809-5750 ext. 13 or nora@hvshakespeare.org.

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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of ROMEO & JULIET is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest

Read the full release here.

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