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Responses to OTHELLO

From our Student Matinees:

I don’t want my comments to seem hyperbolic—but my students and I feel that this was the richest literary experience we have ever had. Thanks to everyone for making this a wonderful experience for us. Most of my students had never seen a live production of a Shakespearean play. We sat for over two hours, and not a single student wiggled or slept or took their eyes off the actors. They loved the interactive nature of the show. Thanks to the actors for all their hard work and for making Othello come alive right before our very eyes. This was definitely a highlight for the 30 A.P English students’ senior year—mine too!!

- Julia Goodwin, Bartlett HS


My students had an outstanding experience with Othello. I highly recommend Tennessee Shakespeare and it’s educational experiences, and we will participate again. Really, I hate to “gush,” but this was a most positive experience for us. It was orderly and very professional. We will work with Tennessee Shakespeare again!

- Shari Ray, St Mary’s Episcopal School


This is the 2nd time I have taken students to experience the incredible performances of the TN Shakespeare Company.  We saw Julius Caesar last year and the girls were wowed to say the least.  The Othello performance was again an experience for them.  The girls were on the edge of their seats.  I think that I enjoyed watching the students as much as I enjoyed watching the performers.  It is imperative that students are given good 1st experiences with Shakespeare.  So much of the time they are turned off by having to "read only" the plays or they see less than stellar performances.  My girls were entranced and delighted and asking for more.  They want to see Romeo and Juliet under the stars and try a little of their own in next semester's advanced drama class.  Thank you!

- Ann Lane Neal, Director of Theatre Arts, St. Agnes Academy


I truly want to thank the Tennessee Shakespeare Company for a marvelous experience that I will never forget. I had once heard of the Shakespeare piece, Othello, but never had I read it or seen it performed. I have been to many performances in my young lifetime, but I have never been to one that drew me in to the point where I felt that I was actually a part of what was going on, and never have my emotions flared up that high during a performance. Having the actors interact with the audience was also a new element for me, but it was also quite enjoyable. It was positively evident that the actors gave 100% throughout the entire performance. I would most definitely go to see another performance put on by the Tennessee Shakespeare Company.

From the very beginning of the performance, I was on the edge of my seat, anticipating what was to happen next. You can say that this level of excitement was brought on by the fact that I had never seen the play before, but any play, no matter how it was written, can either turn out to be a “snooze fest” or a “holding on to the end of your seat” kind of experience. The determining factor of the kind of experience you will have rests upon the open mind of the audience, and the commitment of the actors. Shakespearian plays are hard to interpret and, in the case of the actors, hard to perform. I feel that these actors did an outstanding job of performing the play to where the audience was able to follow along, while at the same time, not forgetting the play’s origin and losing touch of the original idea created by Shakespeare.

The actor-audience relationship witnessed and experienced throughout the performance was truly the icing on the cake. You typically see performances done in that manner when the audience consists of younger children, not high school students. However in this case, I believe that the actor-audience interaction was more than appropriate. Had this style not been incorporated into the performance, a great deal of the audience would not have been able to grasp the concept of the play, nor have experienced that high level of enjoyment. After the performance was over, the actors and director answered a few of the audience members’ questions. Although this can be done by many of theatre companies, each actor, and the director, had a warm and welcoming vibe to them.

The Tennessee Shakespeare Company did an outstanding job in producing Othello. Forever will I remember and be grateful for my experience. It shall be something that I cherish and take with me for the rest of my life. Overall, I would rate the entire ensemble, from the time I took my seat for the performance, until the time I returned to school, a perfect 10. I don’t believe there could be any performing arts company that could satisfy my love for the arts any better than the Tennessee Shakespeare Company.

- Caitlyn Knot, 11th Grade, Middle College High

 


Beautifully acted and staged, my thanks to TSC for providing my students with a truly quality opportunity.

- Keith Salter, Collierville HS

 


First, please let me extend my greatest thanks to your company and cast for the amazing production today.  My class (5th graders between the ages of 9 to 10), my parent chaperones, and I enjoyed every aspect of the performance. Thank you again for one of the best field trip experiences my students have had.

- Christa Fitzgibbon, CLUE Teacher, Willow Oaks Elementary

 


It was a wonderful production, and my students couldn't stop talking about it on the way to lunch, at lunch, and even on the way back to school. Ah, the beauty and relevance of Shakespeare! Thanks again for the actors who came early to work with my class and for the excellent and affordable production!

Thank you so much for the experience. We loved the play, and many of my students, who had expressed trepidation in understanding Shakespeare, were surprised to find that they not only understood but also enjoyed the play. I can't wait for the next opportunity! Romeo and Juliet in the garden - I'm there!

- Janelle Phipps, Harding Academy

 


Thank you for another great show. The actors did a marvelous job and we appreciate what TSC adds to our community!

- Barry Gilmore, Hutchison School

 


You always impress us you’re your professionalism and quality of performance!!!! Please keep inviting us to participate!

- Jenny Hall, Millington CHS

 


We loved the show and the students who got to come are ready to start reading it in class. It was a great performance!!!

- Ashly Hood, Raleigh Egypt HS

 


Responses to JULIUS CAESAR

From our Adult Audiences:

“Casts new light on this familiar tale. It is fresh and innovative without being contrived, and those who think they know the play will come away having experienced something compellingly different. First-rate acting, music, and dance combine for a must-see evening of theater.”

- John Reed

“I thoroughly enjoyed the production.  It kept my mind sharp following one person in more than one role, and I enjoyed that.  JULIUS CAESAR is not to be missed.”

- Andrew Pouncey, Assistant City Administrator, City of Germantown

“I was absolutely mesmerized, beginning with the cast introductions that went into a tableau – the technique suggested to me this was not going to be the same old same old.  The all-woman cast and the accompanying revision of text was . . . how might I say…mind-blowing.  Extremely cool and very exciting.  The choreography was a phenomenal addition.  The death scene was a ritual art and not murder.  The acting was superb.  In sum, you now have a loyal follower of Tennessee Shakespeare Company.  Thanks very much for your excellent performance.”

- Robert P. Connolly, PhD, Director, C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa

“This is by far my favorite of your three productions--the environment was perfect and I love it when the cast is always hanging around on stage, switching parts with small costume adjustments.  Of course the cast was amazing and the cellist (Iren Zombor) exquisite.  Congratulations!”

- Jonathan RA Devin, Freelance writer

“A virtually perfect time at the theatre!  The phenomenal cast and director captured every nuance of the language, and the movement stunningly enriched the language and the classic story!  What a treasure to witness an ensemble fulfill all the promise and expectations of a professional performance!”

- Billy Pullen, English Teacher, Germantown High School

"Once again, you and the brilliant people in your company have created pure magic!  JULIUS CAESAR was facinating, thought-provoking, and enlightening, and I'm certain I speak for the entire audience when I say that it was an unforgettable show.  Your company does provides us with so much more than an evening of theatre, because you present Shakespeare's work in a manner that makes us reflect long after the closing curtain has been drawn.  Thank you for adding this treasure to our community!"
- Caroline Sposto

 

From the Teachers:

“Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s student matinee series is an incredibly enriching experience for students of all ages and disciplines.  TSC’s innovative staging and interpretation reawakens a classical text for a contemporary audience without ever diminishing the importance of the language.  What was planned to be a ten-minute wrap-up session in my classroom following the performance evolved into an hour-long discussion focusing on the play's themes, the various production elements, the director's vision, use of movement and choreography, and so much more.  Each student contributed to this vibrant and thoughtful discussion with such enthusiasm and energy.  It was one of those moments you long for as a teacher:  passionate discussion and debate employing all of the analytical and performance skills we have developed throughout the year.”

    - Scott Duff, Director of Theatre Arts, St. George’s Independent School

“The experience could not have been better, especially being the only girls in an audience full of MUS boys.  The different reaction (boys/girls) was of great interest to me as an educator.  The St. Agnes girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wanted to talk immediately about how their attitudes toward these characters changed drastically because their words were spoken by women.  Thank you for the experience.”

- Ann Neal, Director of Theatre Arts, St. Agnes Academy

“The kids had a blast!  They were talking about it today.  They were amazed at how easily they understood Shakespeare's language and how clearly you all portrayed your roles.”

- Joan Laney, English Teacher, Memphis-Central High School

“This was a wonderful production and a great opportunity for the students. Thank you for providing such a wonderful learning experience. All teachers involved enjoyed it as well, and we plan on definitely attending future productions and instilling a love of Shakespeare and interest in drama/acting in even more students.”

    - Chris Hudson, 10th grade English Teacher, Arlington High School 

“One student I spoke to this morning described how much clearer the story was to him now than it was when he read it in class.”

- Ted Horrell, Principal, Millington Central High School

“The students felt a part of the production!”

    - Karen Cooperman, Teacher, Grahmwood Elementary


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___Responses to Previous TSC Productions___

I wish to congratulate the newly formed Tennessee Shakespeare Company for their splendid inaugural season. I teach at Cordova Middle School where I have always included Shakespeare in my Language Arts Classes, bemoaning the absence of live performances to show students. As the new Drama/Creative Writing teacher at my school I found out early about Dan McCleary and his artistic aspirations, and we were one of the first schools to sign up for a field trip. The TSC not only engaged my disparate group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders, they enchanted most and enthralled a few, which is saying a lot.

This is the best thing to happen to the local arts scene in recent memory. I will be taking as many kids as I can to this top-notch production company's future efforts.

Thanks to all the sponsors and support groups who made this possible.

Darrell Hugueley
Cordova Middle School

News

  • Back by popular demand: The Shakespeare Brunch
  • Three New Board Members and Officers Announced for 2016-17
  • TSC Announces Full Ninth Season
  • The Oliver Experiment
pic the winters tale 2016 Photo: Elliot LaPlante. Kelli Radwanski Photography

Back by popular demand:

The Shakespeare Brunch

Join us for an elegant Sunday brunch, drinks, and an abbreviated Shakespeare reading in a beautiful indoor setting. Acted by some of your favorite TSC players, the reading is preceded by a delicious and thematic buffet with cash bar. Your $40 ticket includes the buffet and reading.

title the winters tale

by William Shakespeare

Sunday, November 20

12:30-3:30 pm
directed by Stephanie Shine
at The Memphis Hunt and Polo Club
Host Members: Margaret and Owen Tabor


Shakespeare’s late romance features a Bohemian rhapsody of near-magical redemption and forgiveness, featuring over 20 professional actors, including Carey Urban, Tony Molina, Darius Wallace, Stephanie Shine, and Dan McCleary.

Attire: cocktail/business casual.

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Three New Board Members and Officers Announced for 2016-17

(November 7, 2016) - Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced its 26-member Board of Directors unanimously approved the elections of three new members and a slate of new Officers to its Executive Committee for FY17.

Melanie
Melanie Stovall Murry

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Michael R. Marshall

Joining the Board for three-year terms are educator Pat Casserly Kelly, lawyer Michael R. Marshall of Evans Petree, and University of Memphis General Counsel Melanie Stovall Murry.

Dr. Owen B. Tabor returns as President. His officers are Ernest G. Kelly, Jr. (Vice President), C. Cato Ealy (Treasurer), and Melia M. Murphy (Secretary). Their terms are renewable after one year.

Rotating to TSC’s Emeritus Founders Board is educator Ruth Dunning, who helped create the Company in 2007-08.

Pat Casserly Kelly, though she still finds herself teaching, is the retired chair of the English and Humanities departments at The Hutchison School and its recipient of the Margaret Wellford Tabor chair for Excellence in Teaching English. In her teaching career, she emphasized the great writers and thinkers of the Western tradition—Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Austen, Dickens, Hardy—as she encouraged her students to become lovers of literature and independent and creative thinkers. Mrs. Kelly was a president of the Shelby-Memphis Council of Teachers of English and was recognized as a Teacher of Excellence by the National Council Teachers of English. She was a recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities study grants, and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for a teacher exchange program in Eurasia. She served two terms on the vestry of St. Elisabeth’s Church in Raleigh and was the Director of Religious Education there for 15 years. Currently a communicant at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, she serves as a lector, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a member of the hospitality committee, and is serving her first year of her term on the Chapter of the Cathedral.

Michael R. Marshall is legal counsel at Evans Petree in Memphis. He is the co-leader of the Labor and Employment section and uses his experience in other arenas to reach solutions and resolutions to his clients’ disputes. He has extensive experience in litigating and resolving employment matters and other business-related disputes. He is a frequent speaker on employment-related topics. Mr. Marshall was the lead attorney in a case brought by the Memphis City Schools against the City of Memphis and obtained a $57 million verdict for education funding. Mr. Marshall graduated from the University of California and Southern Methodist University School of Law. He is a member of the American Bar Association Member, Tennessee Bar Association Member, and Memphis Bar Association member. He is admitted to practice law in Tennessee and Texas. Mr. Marshall has also served as the General Counsel for the Memphis City Schools, and is the general counsel for the Shelby County Emergency Communications District and for Lausanne Collegiate School.

Melanie Stovall Murry is General Counsel at the University of Memphis. Mrs. Murry joined the University in December 2002, serving as associate and assistant counsel. She was also an adjunct faculty member for the doctoral program in higher education administration for the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. She serves as an instructor at the Tennessee Institute for Pre-law. Mrs. Murry graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program and was a 2008 fellow of the New Memphis Institute. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, and has a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Louis University.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Announces Full Ninth Season of Plays and Educational Activities for 2016-17

pic production mockingbird2016

pic production much ado2016

pic production comedy errors2016

(Memphis, TN; August 11, 2016) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South’s professional, classical theatre, today announced its full 2016-17 season of plays, outreach programs, and Education initiatives in the Memphis area and beyond.

Launching TSC’s ninth season is its first production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Directed by TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, the adaptation will perform in the Wiener Theater on the campus of Hutchison School in East Memphis from September 20 through October 2.  The play is produced in partnership with Hutchison.  The cast of 20 actors features Broadway veteran Patrick Ryan Sullivan as Atticus Finch, Memphian Ainsley Geno as Scout, and the return of TSC favorite Tony Molina, Jr. as Rev. Sykes. 

Early Bird tickets are on sale now for To Kill a Mockingbird: the first 24 seats sold to each performance will be located in the new Best Seats section of the theatre.

In the winter, TSC returns to Dixon Gallery & Gardens for the holiday season with an elegant, celebratory Much Ado About Nothing befitting the season of cheer.  Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, directed by McCleary, plays on the Winegardner Auditorium stage December 8-18.

The fun continues in early summer with Shakespeare’s boisterous comedy of mistaken identities.  The Comedy of Errors, produced in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, will play the U of M mainstage June 8-18, 2017.

The Southern Literary Salons return, featuring the works of Eudora Welty (Mississippi Myth) on January 27 and Flannery O’Connor (Georgia Gothic) on April 21.  These literary parties in beautiful, private homes from 6:00-8:00 pm curate readings, light fare, and writer-specific libations.

Back by popular demand is The Shakespeare Brunch, featuring abbreviated, staged readings of a redemptive The Winter’s Tale (November 20) and a provocative The Merchant of Venice (May 21) preceded by an expansive brunch buffet and bar.  Acted by some of TSC’s best-known actors, the Brunches run from 12:30-3:30 pm inside the elegant Memphis Hunt & Polo Club. 

The season also includes the Eighth Annual Shakespeare Gala, bringing to Memphis a new Broadway headliner on Friday, March 10, 2017, at Germantown Performing Arts Center.  The Gala, complete with lavish dinner and open bars located throughout the theatre, supports TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Education Program.

This season, the Education Program significantly expands its anti-violence schools residency and performance schedule of The Romeo and Juliet Project.  Nine actor/teaching-artists will work in over 20 schools, largely underserved, in Shelby County from September through February, reaching more than 6,000 students.  Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, a fun 2-actor introduction to the playwright’s essential scenes and soliloquies, will tour schools and theatres throughout the southeastern United States.  Both productions are created and directed by TSC Education Director Stephanie Shine.

TSC’s generous Mainstage title sponsors include FedEx; Dorothy O. Kirsch; Ernest, Pat, Martha, & Marian Kelly; Independent Bank; Tennessee Arts Commission; Ann and Wellford Tabor; and The University of Memphis.

TSC’s season partners are Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Hutchison School, Shelby County Schools, St. George’s Church, and the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.  The season is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee.

“Our ninth season is a response both to the world’s recent events and to our patrons’ desires,” says McCleary.  “To Kill a Mockingbird is an American masterpiece of the 20th Century.  It is time for each of us to pick up Harper Lee’s novel and read or re-read it.  In Much Ado About Nothing, we are a nation of peace at home and abroad, and in this dream we go pleasure-seeking.  Still, uninhibited love is surprisingly difficult to give away in this environment, to both comedic and tragic effect.  And in Comedy of Errors, famous for its physical and archetypal humor, we find ourselves in a world in which the mortal threat to immigrants cannot prevent this non-traditional family, even after years of separation, from making a heart-felt discovery.

“I am deeply grateful to our season sponsors, production partners, and over 300 donors who make professional, classical theatre and our education programming possible.  The work we do with children in our schools is immediate, impactful, proven, and a powerful model for successful replication throughout the United States.  We live in a time when the arts, and experiencing Shakespeare’s plays, need to be at the center of our national educational curriculum, not subsisting on the fringes.  They are not a luxury, they are for everyone.  The works of William Shakespeare are our birthright, and if they are supported educationally and financially then we see first-hand how our children enthusiastically embrace his compassion, his poetry, and his open-hearted query of humanity.”

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Sponsored by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (NYC)

Presents its Third Musical in Development August 15 on the University of Memphis mainstage:

The Oliver Experiment

What if your entire life were a Broadway musical…and you had no clue?

Featuring Broadway’s Brightest Stars

Memphis, TN (July 27, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its third and final developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with The Oliver Experiment by Jeremy Desmon and Jeff Thomson on August 15 at 7:00 pm.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

Boyle         FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

International Paper             University of Memphis  logo-arts-memphis



     First Tenneessee Foundation    

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Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Hutchison School, Shelby County Schools, St. George’s Church, The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       ArtsMemphis    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live