Join me as I drive across the continental United States, visiting summer Shakespeare festivals from Richmond, VA to Ashland, OR to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall.
As a Bardolator, I wanted to explore Shakespeare festivals from the east coast to the west coast.
Along the way I hope to learn as much about America as I do about Shakespeare, and what the Bard means in a country so far away from his own, both chronologically and geographically.
Each company I visit will be written up on my blog, highlighting their unique personality and how their approach to Shakespeare compares with other companies across the country. I hope to bring all the companies I visit — large and small — into a national dialogue about Shakespeare theatre in America.
My first exposure to Shakespeare came from watching Star Trek. My father was an avid Trekkie so I absorbed a lot of Shakespeare through osmosis as I watched Picard and Kirk explore the galaxy in the starship Enterprise.
I fell in love with Shakespeare ten years ago and started volunteering with Quill — then Richmond Shakespeare — building sets, selling concessions, and eventually writing dramaturgical essays and teaching drama camps.
Over the last ten years I’ve taught in public and private schools as well as in a juvenile detention center. I’ve written educational TV spots for PBS and started a Shakespeare literary magazine. I’ve traveled across the US, to Canada and the UK to see Shakespeare productions. I’ve worked as a dramaturge on productions for Quill, and in 2016 I directed a short film of Measure for Measure.
But this year I will embark on my greatest Shakespeare project, making my way across the country, acting as an ambassador for American Shakespeare, visiting large and small festivals across America, learning about Shakespeare in the New World.
In the end I hope to write a book about my experiences, documenting what I learn about America and Shakespeare by spending the summer making my way to Ashland to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
One must be flexible on a road trip, so all of my destinations will depend on timing and production schedules. But my tentative route is below.
I set out from Richmond, VA on June 29th.
Currently heading northwest in the general direction of Ashland, OR. After visiting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival I will turn south down the Pacific Coast and then turn east after San Diego to head home to Richmond, VA through the south, Texas and Georgia, into North Carolina and then back to Richmond by way of Staunton.
If you know about Shakespeare happening along my route that I've not listed here, please email me and let me know!
Staunton, VA — American Shakespeare Center
Cincinnati, OH — Cincinnati Shakespeare
Louisville, KY — Kentucky Shakespeare
Boulder, CO — Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Cedar City, UT — Utah Shakespeare
Lake Tahoe, NV — Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, OR — Oregon Shakespeare
San Francisco (area), CA — San Francisco Shakespeare + African-American Shakespeare Company + Marin Shakespeare Company
Los Angeles, CA — Independent Shakespeare Co + New Swan Shakespeare Co
There is a broad debate about Shakespeare that I find endlessly frustrating: whether Shakespeare belongs on your bookshelf or in the theatre. There is intense partisanship on both sides, but my anecdotal experience leads me to believe that the theatre crowd is the more numerous and influential one. I can’t count how many times I’ve […]
A few weeks ago, at the end of January, I took a week off from my day job to attend the Shakespeare Theatre Association conference in Baltimore. STA — pronounced acronymically as “stah” by everyone — is a large, international meeting of directors and theatre company managers who get together annually to discuss the future […]
The third issue of Brief Candle is printed and available for sale, starting at Richmond Zine Fest today. The making of Brief Candle has been an evolving process over the almost three years I’ve been working on it. Design-wise I’ve decided to move into a half-page size and to streamline the look, using fewer images […]
Next month I will be making my very first film, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure,’ shot entirely on an iPhone. The initial inspiration for the project came last summer when I stumbled on an article about a number of feature-length films that had been shot entirely on iPhones. It’s no surprise to anyone […]