Shakespeare at Notre Dame recently announced its 2015 season. Offering a subscription of plays for the first time in the organization’s history, the 16th season will include one tragedy, two comedies, and one romantic fairy tale, all following the theme: “Love, Loss, and Laughter.”
The year kicks off Feb. 11 with Macbeth performed by Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) at Notre Dame’s historic Washington Hall. AFTLS, which is made up of a rotating cast of five professional British actors from London’s most-prestigious stages, celebrates its 40th year of continuous touring in 2015. Previous AFTLS actors have included Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ben Kingsley. Notre Dame is the group’s American home.
It’s a year of growth for the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, which adds a second professional production for the first time in its history. “I’ve wanted to commission new work because someone gave Will Shakespeare a go,” said Ryan Producing Artistic Director Grant Mudge.
Mudge has enlisted writers Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin, stars of the PBS film The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and authors of The Complete History of America (abridged), to return to their Shakespearean roots and create a brand new madcap comedy inspired by the Bard. Performances of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost Play (abridged) will begin Aug. 4 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Regis Philbin Studio Theatre.
To explain the thematic connection, Mudge says “Shakespeare’s characters love too much, drink too much, crave too much, and are sometimes cruel to those closest to them. Shakespeare shows us our choices charting not only our own lives, but even the path of history itself. And, in the wake of those decisions, sometimes the only thing left us is to laugh.”
The second NDSF Professional Company production will be The Winter’s Tale, beginning Aug. 18 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Patricia George Decio Theatre, directed by Drew Fracher. According to Mudge, “Shakespeare put everything into this play: bears, shipwrecks, musical numbers, comedy, tragedy, magic, great love stories, bitter betrayals, and one miraculous chance for redemption.”
During the summer months, the NDSF also stages two free productions: ShakeScenes performed by community actors of all ages, and the annual Young Company production, featuring college and university students from Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, Holy Cross, and schools across the nation.
This year, the Young Company will produce the comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost, directed by West Hyler, in his second summer leading these early-career artists. Hyler is best known for his work on Broadway, including Jersey Boys and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Learn more about all of Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s 2015 productions at shakespeare.nd.edu.
Audiences can save 30 percent off full-price adult ticket prices when buying a season subscription to Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s three ticketed productions through Jan. 30, 2015. Visit shakespeare.nd.edu or call the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Ticket Office at (574) 631-2800. (Note: online orders only during Notre Dame’s holiday break, Dec. 20 through Jan. 4)