This fall will kick off an exciting season of Shakespeare at Pace, featuring four performances at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts from world-renowned theatre companies. First in the lineup: Romeo and Juliet, by Tony Award winning The Acting Company runs from October 22 to October 24. Then, Shakespeare’s Globe of London returns to Pace to perform The Merry Wives of Windsor October 28 to November 7. Theatre for a New Audience puts on The Merchant of Venice February 27 to March 13, starring Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, and The Acting Company rounds out the season with Comedy of Errors April 5 to April 17.
Why Shakespeare and why Pace? According to David Watson, director of cultural events for Pace, this new fall lineup is a natural extension of the relationship that Pace has already built with Shakespeare’s Globe of London. “When Pace announced the Globe was coming back, we had the idea to build a season around it,” says Watson. Although he originally envisioned only one additional show, when renowned companies The Acting Company and Theatre for a New Audience both approached Pace looking for space to rehearse, the idea of a fully fledged festival began to take shape.
“In its current form, this could become an annual experience,” says Watson, who has hopes of the event also taking a stronger international focus, showcasing Shakespeare productions from around the globe. “Rather than one British and two American companies, it would be fun to add a show each year from another country,” says Watson, who cites a Russian production of Richard III, a South African production of Macbeth, and a Chinese production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream as just a few of the great international productions on his radar.
The festival is also the culmination of one Pace professor’s dream. Watson notes that Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Performing Arts Department, Christopher Thomas, who recently passed away, had once designed a Globe set for the Schimmel in order to give students a feel for what it would be like to experience performances on the historic stage. “The original vision for the theater was that the Schimmel would be a place for Shakespeare,” says Watson. Even the Bard might agree that after this season, “thy worldly task hast done.”
More than Fun and Plays
In addition to the four plays, there are a number of unique learning opportunities built around the productions.
- Each show will include a Talkback Session—a free event where audiences can stay and speak to cast members and artistic contributors.
- All shows (with the exception of Romeo and Juliet) will also include “Centerpiece Lectures,” given by experts in the field such as Pace Distinguished Professor Martha Driver, PhD, (Merry Wives of Windsor) that delve into certain aspects of the play and production.
- Pace performing arts students will be offered master classes taught by members of the cast.
- Pace will also be hosting the Globe’s “Executive Education” for Shakespeare educators—the first program of its kind on the East Coast, which introduces 12 competitively selected high school instructors and their students to an 18-month educational program taking place on the Pace campus with summer sessions in London.
To learn more, visit: http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/globeeducation