“A sad tale’s best for winter,” as Mamillius says in The Winter’s Tale. But if you’d rather watch this Shakespeare play in the heat of summer, three of the Folger’s theater partners are performing it: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis on Jun 2-25, African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco for two weekends in mid-June, and Nashville Shakespeare Festival on weekends from Aug 10 through Sep 17.
Following a mainstage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has turned to its seasonal opposite, The Winter’s Tale.
Directed by Bruce Longworth, the play is being performed outdoors at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park, with original music composed by St. Louis-based The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra and a nightly pre-show featuring local musicians, a synopsis of the play, and roving performers.
A local brewery has even created a custom (and cleverly named) beer for the occasion: Schlafly’s The Winter’s Ale.
For African-American Shakespeare Company, this will be the first production of The Winter’s Tale in its 22-year history. The play will be staged with contemporary costumes and a minimal setting.
“In my adaptation of this brilliant story, we are introduced to a little Prince seeing his family torn apart by the suddenly tyrannical behavior of his father,” says director L. Peter Callender. “He sees the effects on his pregnant mother and shares a sad tale of what could happen to a family in this situation and, in so doing, leads his family out of the darkness to the light.”
Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production will be part of its Shakespeare in the Park season and “set in a fairy tale world of contrasting peoples inspired by the diverse South American cultures during the Gran Colombia era.”
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis; Jun 2-25; sfstl.com
African-American Shakespeare Company; Jun 9-11, 17-18; african-americanshakes.org
Nashville Shakespeare Festival; Aug 10-13, 24-25, Sep 2-4, 7-8, 16-17; nashvilleshakes.org
Learn more about the Folger Shakespeare Library’s theater partnership program.