Here’s something cool about all the virtual programming that Shakespeare companies have been producing lately: we’re able to watch productions and join programs in places we might never ordinarily visit. In February, for example, you can catch play readings from Spring Green, Wisconsin; watch a production of Midsummer from San Diego, California; fall in love in Seattle, Washington; and even take a tour of Rome, Italy by way of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Check out some online programs you can catch this month from the Folger’s theater partners.
Winter Words, American Players Theatre’s popular annual play-reading series, moves from the Touchstone Theatre to Zoom this season. Readings include Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, adapted by Simon Scardifield (February 22); Dear Brutus by JM Barrie (March 8); Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue by Quiara Alegría Hudes (March 22); and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis (April 5). Don’t delay on getting your tickets! Unlike the company’s earlier series of Zoom readings, these readings are one-time events and won’t be available to view on-demand.
Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s 4th International Shakespeare in Prisons Conference (SiPC4), produced in partnership with Folger Institute, continues through April. The conference brings together theatre arts practitioners, researchers, and scholars currently engaged with or interested in programs for incarcerated (and post-incarcerated) populations. Now, you can listen to podcast versions of select sessions as well as watching video-recordings—all for free on Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s website.
The Old Globe/University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program’s free virtual production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (directed by our friend Sam White of Shakespeare in Detroit) transports the story to industrial America circa 1940, where the assembly line is as magical as the woods of Athens. Watch the full show on YouTube; the production will be available through the end of the month.
A new season of The Old Globe’s Reflecting Shakespeare TV begins February 22. Guest Haisan T. Williams, formerly incarcerated citizen and actor with the Shakespeare Prison Project, returns with hosts Erika Phillips, James Pillar, and Niki Martinez to launch season 3 and the show’s exploration of Much Ado About Nothing through a social justice lens.
On Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, let Gamut Theatre whisk you away to beautiful Rome, Italy! In Caesar in Rome, Vincenzo Macchiarola, a certified Roman tour guide, joins Melissa Nicholson, director of Gamut Theatre’s 2018-19 production of Julius Caesar, to present a unique digital performance combining theatre and travelogue. As Vincenzo walks you through Rome sharing historical background on the real Caesar, Gamut actors deliver monologues from Shakespeare’s play. Afterward, join a live post-show discussion with Vincenzo and the Gamut team.
Join the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s virtual book club on February 24 for a discussion of Howard Jacobson’s Shylock is My Name, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice from the Hogarth Shakespeare series.
New episodes of Theatre for a New Audience’s Sheltering with Shakespeare series release weekly! Conceived and performed by actor, teacher, dramaturg, and scholar Dakin Matthews, Sheltering with Shakespeare is a free series all about demystifying Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is one of the world’s most-quoted writers when it comes to love; his words on the subject permeate pop culture while his plays journey through the human heart with compassion and originality. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Seattle Shakespeare Company has created To Woo, a collection of scenes, sonnets, and songs from Shakespeare’s works that open the heart. Watch it on-demand February 12 – 14.
If you’re looking for something new to listen to, Seattle Shakespeare’s original limited-time podcast series house of sueños continues with episodes through February 24. Five years after their papi Luis’s disappearance, sisters Rina and Amelia prepare to celebrate Mom’s marriage to their new step-dad. But when Amelia tells her sister of the mysterious voice and shadowy figure she saw in the attic, it’s clear that not all in this house is as it seems. house of sueños is a gripping and magically poetic family drama drawn from the Bard’s most famous tragedy and playwright Meme García’s own life story. Spanish and English are interwoven with Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a multilingual audio drama about family, mental health, and the power of dreams.
The Atlanta Shakespeare Company presents a digital performance of Othello February 4 – 28. The production, which the company filmed in November in repertory with an upcoming All’s Well That Ends Well, mixes the company’s work in Original Practice with the intimacy of the camera lens.
Visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s O! and check out Talking Back, a six-part web series that reveals the growing movement for justice in the theater field. Hosted by artEquity Founder and Executive Director Carmen Morgan, this web series brings artEquity’s practice of facilitating hard and necessary conversations to a broader audience. While exploring O!, don’t miss Ash Land, the first-ever independent short film associated with OSF.
This month also features programs for students and teachers! Starting February 23, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival offers After-School Virtual Shakespeare. Kids ages 9-12 will perform their own interpretations of the comic scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sessions meet Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 22.
Teachers can also get in on the Shakespeare fun with a free Juicy Lesson from Folger Education: “Pre-Reading: A 20-minute Hamlet.” Learn more about this essential technique for introducing a play to students: not only will they end up owning juicy lines from Hamlet—they’ll also get just enough of the plot, characters, and conflict to leave them wanting more.
American Players Theatre, Gamut Theatre Company, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Festival, and Theatre for a New Audience are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.