arts

Annual series celebrates Shakespeare for 25th year



Shakespeare plays have been seen in a variety of formats, from formal plays to films.

This summer marks the 25th annual Shakespeare in the Park festival for the Monroe County Civic Theater, and this year is distinct in that the theater will read the complete works of Shakespeare.

“We decided to make it a week-long festival and do a collection of plays to mark the anniversary,” said Eric Anderson Jr., the board of directors president. “Then there will also be our production of Hamlet.”

The festival began in 1990 with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The Monroe County Civic Theater didn’t think about doing a Shakespeare play until an IU student came to use some of its props for a Shakespeare play she put on for class, Anderson said.

The performances will be at Third Street Park from Friday to June 7, and they are free to the public.

“Some of the readings that are sponsored by particular organizations will be done by members of the staff, board members, etc.,” said Cassie Alexander, Shakespeare in the Park reader coordinator. “Others will just be read by volunteers who sign up for particular roles.”

A reader coordinator is important for the festival, especially when it will read the complete works of Shakespeare, Alexander said.

“I keep track of the volunteers who sign up to read for each play, assemble cast lists and serve as a communications liaison between the host organizations and the readers,” Alexander said.

The festival is still in need of readers, and a sign-up form is still available on the theater’s website.

In addition to the readings, the production of Hamlet is from June 6 to 8.

“We are performing it like the play is coming out the first time,” Hamlet director of Gregory Morales said.

The theater’s production of Hamlet will be 90 minutes as opposed to four hours, he said.

Anderson said no matter the play, Shakespeare in the Park always attracts a diverse audience.

“The festival is good for the city of Bloomington, because it brings out many people and gives them an opportunity to see Shakespeare in a different way,” he said.

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