Our phones will be down from 10-2 today as we transition to our new space.  Should you have an immediate need, please send an email to contact@tnshakespeare.org, and we will get back with you as soon as possible.  Thank you for your patience.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company Stages Romeo and Juliet at Germantown Performing Arts Center January 28 and 30

Part of its renowned Romeo and Juliet Project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts

(Memphis, TN, January 9, 2014) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company brings a sweeping, youthful, full-cast production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall at Germantown Performing Arts Center on January 28 and 30 at 7:00 pm. Opening night on January 28 will include a complimentary post-show reception with the actors.


R&J CastChildren 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE for both performances when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Limit: four per guardian.Directed by Stephanie Shine, Romeo and Juliet is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This marks the first time in TSC's young history that it has been nationally-recognized with NEA funding.

The professional, multi-ethnic cast of actors and designers from around the country also will feature a six-actor ensemble from the theatre department at the University of Memphis.

The production is part of TSC's larger social and educational investment in its community: The Romeo and Juliet Project. Piloted in 2012, funded locally by ArtsMemphis to expand into Memphis schools in 2013, and now funded by the NEA and ArtsMemphis for 2014, the Project will send TSC's actor-teachers into Carver, Booker T. Washington, Ridgeway, Kirby, and Bartlett High Schools to teach every Freshman the play through an interactive, three-day anti-violence residency through February.

Following both public performances on January 28 and 30, a special community forum with audiences, actors, and director will be moderated by TSC founding member, education author, and Hutchison Middle School Head Barry Gilmore to explore together the many situations in the play that implore us to look within ourselves for social remedy.

The Project will also offer three morning student matinees of Romeo and Juliet for Mid-South elementary, middle, and high school students. More than 2,000 students are expected to participate. To book your school, teachers and administrators may call TSC Education Manager Slade Kyle at (901) 759-0620.

The title roles in Romeo and Juliet will be played by Seattle-based actors, and real-life couple, Rachel Brun and Joey Shaw.

Joey Shaw most recently played Menecrates in Seattle Shakespeare Company's Antony and Cleopatra. In the past year he played Tybalt in Shakespeare Walla Walla's Romeo and Juliet and designed sound for their It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, both directed by Stephanie Shine. University of Washington credits: Hair (Claude), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Macbeth (Macduff), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch).

Rachel Brun recently appeared at Seattle's Town Theatre in Domesticity and in Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant with Book-It Repertory Theatre. University of Washington credits: Stone Cold Dead Serious (Sharice), Macbeth (Lady Macduff), and Rough Magic (Miranda). Rachel appears as Gabrielle in the upcoming independent film, The Delicate Art of Bird Watching.

Returning to the TSC stage are Slade Kyle (Nurse, Tybalt), Cara McHugh (Lady Capulet), and Phil Darius Wallace* (Capulet, Apothecary). Performing for the first time with TSC are Isaac Anderson (Mercutio), Guillermo Jemmott (Benvolio), and Jamie Mann (Friar).

The University of Memphis ensemble includes Elizabeth Baines, Grace Bowers, Justin Burgess, Liz Kellicut, Matthew Nelson, and Joshua Tucker.

The design team includes the return of Bruce Bui's costumes with his associates Ashley Selberg and Haley Franklin, the properties of Kristen Greene, new fight choreography by Slade Kyle, and First Folio text consultancy by Neil Freeman in Vancouver. The scenic design is created by Los Angeles-based designer Elliot LaPlante, and the lighting design is created by Seattle-based Kent Cubbage.

"Romeo and Juliet contains the most breathtaking love scenes, the most riotous comedy, and the most heartbreaking sacrifice of young life of any of the plays, and all in one play," says director Shine, who also serves as TSC's Education Director. "It teaches us the most valuable lessons about the true evil of hate, the cleansing power of forgiveness, the necessity of bearing responsibility, and the freedom that accompanies truth.

"To lose young people to hate and violence is a punishment we feel too well in Memphis. Our daily news relays tragedies all too close to Romeo and Juliet. It is fitting that we use this play to introduce future generations to William Shakespeare and the great wisdom he offers. Maybe we can keep our children alive. It is fitting that the NEA is funding not only this production, but the three-day anti-violence residency that will partner with five Shelby County schools this year. One day, we may be able to serve all 40 public high schools in the county. Imagine the effect. And best of all, it is fitting we come together in the great numbers that performing at GPAC affords us so we may experience something together that may inspire us to create lasting change for our community."

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet first appeared on stage in 1595. He borrowed the story from a poem published in 1562 titled The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, written first in Italian by Bandell, then in English by Arthur Brooke. Shakespeare followed the poem's plot and used some of the same words for his dialogue.

As in all of the plays from which he borrows, his Romeo and Juliet is infused with deep humanity, new and unique characters, compacts the action into a few short days, and evolves the two young lovers into fully realized young people who build between them a love that is inclusive of their minds, spirits, and bodies. Until Shakespeare crafted his title characters for the stage, no other playwright had yet expressed so understandably the exhilaration, maturity, purity, and completeness of shared, young love.

Shakespeare also tells the entire story before his play begins – in his Prologue, written in 14-line sonnet form. What is popularly considered the greatest love story ever told is born in a world of rage. The ancient feud between the Capulet and Montague households infuses fair Verona with prejudice and hatred. No one ever says what started the violent feud, which prevents audiences from taking sides. Civilians are killing one another.

The only children of the houses of Montague and Capulet are teenagers Romeo and Juliet, and they are "star-cross'd." Fate is working against them, and these children will take their own lives because their love for one another cannot be requited in the world of violence their parents and ancestors have wrought. The suicides of Juliet and Romeo become the terrible sacrifice that is needed to end the rage. The children are unsavable, making the play a tragedy. But their deaths, and those of their young peers in the story, are remarkable for their timeless instruction to all ages.

"In response to violence, Romeo and Juliet offers us a great lesson in the power of individual choice, the freedom that truth brings, and, best of all, the hope for change," says Shine. "Romeo and Juliet shows us all what love and forgiveness can do to change a community for the better."

Stephanie Shine+ (Director) TSC directorial work includes It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Southern Yuletide, Romeo and Juliet, and The Rebel Shakespeare and His Women. During her 18 years with Seattle Shakespeare Company, 13 as Artistic Director, she directed 17 productions, including The Threepenny Opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the lauded all-male Taming of the Shrew. A well-known actress in the Northwest, Stephanie has performed for Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, ACT, The Empty Space, Seattle Children's Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Tacoma Actors Guild. Regionally, she appeared with the Oregon and New Jersey Shakespeare Festivals, Houston's Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, and NYC's Theatre for a New Audience. Her Shakespeare roles include Juliet, Rosalind, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice, Regan, Feste, Kate, Bianca, Dionyza, The Princess of France, Hero, Perdita, and The Chorus in Henry V.

+ Member of The Society of Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union.

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Tennessee Shakepeare Company's production is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

For more information, please visit: Shakespeare in American Communities

 

Box Office Information

Box Office: General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC's office located at 2260 West Street, Germantown, TN 38138; by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org (Twitter: @tnshakespeare).

All performances: $30.

Free Will Kids' Nights: Available both nights. Children are admitted FREE with a paying, attending guardian. Limit four per guardian.

Discounts available for seniors, students, and groups of 20.

Opening Night on January 28 includes complementary post-show dessert and champagne toast with the actors.

Notes: All seats are general admission. No refunds or exchanges. Title and cast subject to change. Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization. GPAC is located at 1801 Exeter Road, Germantown, TN 38138

 

News

  • New Permanent Year-Round Home for TSC
  • New Germantown Municipal School District Partnership
  • New Company d and Memphis VA Partnerships
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Our 10th Anniversary Gala

We have Purchased the Former Ballet Memphis Property to Create the State’s First Permanent, Year-Round Home for Professional Shakespeare Performance, Education, and Training in Memphis

pic newhome tsc2017(August 31) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced it has purchased the former facility and property of Ballet Memphis located at 7950 Trinity Road in Memphis as its first, permanent home. 

The announcement was made by Dan McCleary, the company’s founder and Producing Artistic Director; Owen B. Tabor, the company’s Board President for the past six years; and E. Frank Bluestein, the company’s founding Executive Director.

With this acquisition, Tennessee Shakespeare Company is preparing to create the first and only permanent, year-round home for professional Shakespeare performance, education, and training in the state of Tennessee.

TSC purchased the 18,484 square foot facility outright from Ballet Memphis for $1,900,000.  There is no mortgage. 

TSC, now beginning its tenth anniversary season, expects to begin interior renovation this year and be completed in Spring 2018.

The renovation will focus on modifying existing dance studios into a state-of-the-art, professional, flexible theatre for seating up to 200 patrons, as well as a spacious Education Wing.  The public lobby, restrooms, and support areas for the theatre also will be modified.

Centrally located to all of Shelby County just north of Walnut Grove Road, between Germantown Road and the northeast corner of Shelby Farms Park, the unique glass-and-steel facility will house all of TSC’s operations under one roof:  performances, training, education, administrative offices, storage, costume shop, scene shop, and commercial kitchen.  The facility was constructed in 1998, and an addition was built in 2012.  It affords parking for nearly 70 cars.

TSC and Ballet Memphis, longtime arts colleagues whose artistic staffs have collaborated over the years, entered into a Purchase & Sale Agreement in late June.  The sale represents one Memphis not-for-profit arts organization selling to another for re-use of a special purpose building.  TSC’s agent was W. Cary Whitehead III of Boyle Investment Company.

For the last nine years, TSC has created site-specific/environmental Shakespeare and classical productions, both indoors and outside, throughout Shelby County, partnering with long-time friends Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the University of Memphis, St. George’s Church, Shelby Farms Park, Germantown City Hall, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Hutchison School, and Germantown Performing Arts Center.

“This is an important moment in Memphis performing arts,” said Dr. Tabor.  “We have researched more than 50 sites in the last few years, and the former Ballet property is perfect for our needs and for what our audiences say they would like.  The Ballet’s new home in Overton Square is so impressive, and they have been wonderful to work with during this transaction.  We wish them tremendous success.  We appreciate that this special building is the launch pad for exciting futures for two important arts groups in Memphis.

Read More

Announcing a New, Multi-Year Partnership with the Germantown Municipal School District for Cutting-Edge Classical Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students

pic germantown partnership1Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Germantown Municipal School District today announced a unique, multi-year education partnership that will bring immersive, cutting-edge Shakespeare curriculum to life for every student in grades five, seven, and nine.

Starting with this school year, all GMSD fifth and seventh grade students will participate in an introductory, immersive playshop to prepare and excite them for experiencing a full, live performance of TSC’s self-created production of Shakes, Rattle, and Roll.  The show pays tribute to our hometown heritage, creatively linking the signature music of Memphis to the works of Shakespeare that could have inspired them.

All ninth grade students will be treated to TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet Project, a four-part interactive residency that concludes with an intimate and riveting live performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The Project, originally launched at Germantown High School seven years ago and now operating in many Shelby County Schools, transforms classrooms into playing spaces to change students' expectations and reception of the material. The residency begins with three sessions that engage the students in playing three different parts of the play.  The positive impact on the students’ grades, compassion level, engagement in continued exploration of classical texts, and their rehearsed ability to walk away from potentially life-threatening situations in their own lives has proven quantifiable and remarkable in the scores of schools in which TSC has taught over the past eight years. 

Read More

New, Exciting TSC Partnerships with Company d and the Memphis VA, and Expanding Programs with Jail East and Hope Academy

“TSC gives them models to express their feelings, which they probably have never done.  For maybe the first time in their lives, they think about the world around them and their role in the community.”

- Joyce Anderson, Juvenile Manager, Shelby County Sheriff's Office

pic tns HopeAcademy6
Hope Academy residency participants

We are thrilled to announce new partnerships between TSC and Company d and the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Association.  Also this month (August), we are happily expanding our Shakespeare programs for adjudicated youth at both Jail East and Hope Academy.

TSC is spending August in residence with Company d.  Nationally recognized, Company d is a dance company of young adults with Down syndrome under the artistic direction of choreographer Darlene Winters.  Founded in 2001, Company d is committed to inspire, empower, and teach individuals with Down syndrome who have an inherent aptitude for the performing arts.

TSC Education Manager Carmen-maria Mandley and TSC Education artists guide participants through the tumultuous world of Romeo and Juliet.  Using movement and text, the dancers are immersed in Shakespeare's images and encouraged to discover their personal connection with the characters of the play.

"Company d dancers are having a dynamic experience with TSC this week,” says Winters, Company d founder and Artistic Director.  “The play and its language are being brought to life with interactive methods.  The partnership with Tennessee Shakespeare Company is the first partnership with a theatre company in this region.  I am so excited about this new and unique experience for individuals with Down syndrome, which will enrich artistic growth and expand cultural literacy skills."

Also in August, TSC begins working with veterans at the Memphis VA Medical Association. This program brings together service veterans with theatre practitioners to use the plays of Shakespeare in addressing combat-related traumatic and re-integration issues. The model, created by the Feast of Crispian Project in Milwaukee, WI, was created to strengthen the personal psychological resources available to service veterans - especially those with post-deployment health issues - through the practice and skills of theatre combined with the timeless themes and imagistic language of Shakespeare.

Read More

Tennessee Shakespeare Company
presents its first Mainstage production of madcap
The Comedy of Errors

in partnership with the University of Memphis’
Department of Theatre & Dance
June 8-18

pic comedy of errors0200

Joey Shaw (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Blake Currie (Dromio of Syracuse).

Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents William Shakespeare’s madcap, joyous The Comedy of Errors on the U of M’s Theatre Mainstage from June 8-18.

Featuring a professional cast of actor-musicians and directed by Shakespeare & Company co-founder Tony Simotes, the production sets Shakespeare’s shortest, wildest play in the exotic and dangerous Greece of 1600.

The story features two sets of identical twins, who, along with their parents, were separated shortly after birth on the high seas.  Now, more than 20 years later, Antipholus (the master) and Dromio (his servant) come to a new land that is hostile to foreigners.  Little do they know, their father, chasing after them, is imprisoned and faces execution at sunset for crossing the border unless he can find someone to pay his bail.  And little do they know, their identical twin brothers live here!  It makes for the funniest, most bizarre day in the country until a final familial revelation changes everyone’s lives forever.

Returning to TSC as the Antipholus twins are Joey Shaw (Romeo; King in All’s Well That Ends Well; Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Colton Swibold (title role in Henry V last year).  Returning as the clowning Dromio servants are Nic Picou and Blake Currie (both from Henry V).

Making her TSC debut as Antipholus’ wife Adrianna is U of M alum Claire Hayner, and returning to play her sister Luciana is Rachel Brun (Juliet; Lady Anne in Richard III; Antonio in Twelfth Night; Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Read More

Save the Date for Our 10th Anniversary Gala

We are saving a table for YOU to join us for our 10th Anniversary Season Gala!  Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 7, 2018, when we bring you a celebratory evening of performance and dinner in the beautiful ballroom of the Memphis Hilton.

 pic gala save the date 2018b

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