[caption id="attachment_412960" align="alignright" width="259"] Image Credit: Scott Hilburn of The Argyle Sweater[/caption]
This is part of an on-going series of regional Shakespeare coverage. This is Julia Gayden Nelson here this week with the latest in Shakespeare news from Texas. You can follow me on Twitter @JuliaGNelson.
Hi folks. It’s audition and pre-production season among the Shakespeare theatres here in Texas. Since this is the first-ever post for the Texas region in The Shakespeare Standard, I thought we could start with an overview of the awesome Shakespeare performance companies in Texas. Most (but not all) of these are professional companies. For the purposes of this post, I’m only including companies that have “Shakespeare” as part of their title and/or mission statement. But please do let me know if I missed anything.
Here we go!
North Texas:Trinity Shakespeare Festival
Led by Artistic Director T. J. Walsh, Trinity Shakes made a big splash when they started up in 2009. They primarily produce summer shows, are based in Fort Worth, and are allied closely with Texas Christian University.
Led by Executive and Artistic Direct Raphael Parry, Shakespeare Dallas presents mainstage shows outdoors in the summer and fall at Samuel Grand Amphitheatre in Dallas. The company has been around since 1971, and also has a staged reading series and educational outreach.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
The Guild was founded by Jason and Lauren Morgan in 2005 in connection with Texas Woman’s University. It is now a stand-alone company, producing Shakespeare and other classical plays year-round in Fort Worth, Texas.
North East Texas: Texas Shakespeare Festival
Created in 1986, Texas Shakes brings the small town of Kilgore alive in the summers by hosting a resident repertory company which performs famous plays and musicals. The company is closely allied with Kilgore College, which provides performances spaces, actor housing, and other assistance.
South East Texas:Houston Shakespeare Festival
This company presents free Shakespeare at their venue, Miller Outdoor Theatre. Houston Shakes is connected with the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, began in 1975, and is now run by the triumverate Jack Young, Jim Johnson, and Dr. Rob Shimko.
Central TexasAustin Shakespeare
This company began in 1984 with some short performances of scenes and sonnets. Led by Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella, they are now connected with Austin’s prestigous Long Center, and provide plays and education resources year-round.
The Baron’s Men
The Baron’s Men began as a collection of historical reenactment enthusiasts in 1997. They focus on small-scale, portable productions of Elizabethan plays in and near the Austin area.
Shakespeare at Winedale
This plucky educational program deserves its own entry as a company on this post. University of Texas students enroll in an English course in which they live and work as a resident company over the summer and produce multiple Shakespeare plays in repertory. The students first perform at the Winedale Historical Center near Round Top, TX, and then tour to other locations. The program began in 1970 and is now run by UT professor of English James Loehlin.
South Texas:Shakespeare in the Park
Every summer, The Magik Theatre and San Antonio Botanical Garden team up to produce free performances of Shakespeare plays. They will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this year.
West Texas:Shakespeare on the Concho
Be Theatre partners with the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts to present Shakespeare on the Concho, a free open-air Shakespeare production in the summers in San Angelo.
Shakespeare on the Rocks
This company embraces El Paso’s multicultural heritage with Shakespeare performances and, occasionally, bilingual adaptations. Shakespeare on the Rocks celebrates its 26th season this year.
The Globe of the Great Southwest
Although no plays are currently being produced there, a survey of Shakespeare in Texas would be incomplete without a mention of the full-scale replica of Shakespeare’s Globe in Odessa, Texas. The Globe of the Great Southwest officially opened in 1968, and houses many public events and musical performances for the city of Odessa.
That’s it! In future posts I’ll be reviewing performances, interviewing artists, and highlighting educational and artistic programs related to Shakespeare in Texas. If I missed anything, let me know at Julia.G.Nelson@gmail.com.