Shakespeare Academy presents Romeo and Juliet, Pericles

Pericles rehearsal featuring front Cooper Jennings as Pericles and Naomi Goodheart (Thaisa), back: Danny Arguello Elias, Fatima Anaza, Travoye Joyner. — Photo by Katie Rooney

Pericles rehearsal featuring: front Cooper Jennings as Pericles and Naomi Goodheart (Thaisa), back: Danny Arguello Elias, Fatima Anaza, Travoye Joyner. — Photo by Katie Rooney

The Shakespeare Academy at Stratford begins performances this week for its fifth season featuring Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Pericles. Both productions will be performed by the same 14-member ensemble in site-specific locations on the grounds of the former American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford. The free performances begin Saturday, July 28 and run through Aug. 5.

Travoye Joyner as Romeo —Rehearsal photos by Katie Rooney

Travoye Joyner as Romeo —Rehearsal photos by Katie Rooney

A program of the Mighty Quinn Foundation, a Stratford-based nonprofit, the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford provides a select group of students from around the United States and abroad with a six-week program of rigorous theater training, ensemble collaboration, and the opportunity to rehearse and perform two Shakespeare plays in repertory.

Living and working side by side as an ensemble, is a hallmark of the Shakespeare Academy experience. Mornings are spent studying with prominent instructors and master class teachers from programs such as the Juilliard School and Yale School of Drama. With afternoons and evenings devoted to rehearsing the two Shakespeare productions.

It is generally agreed that Shakespeare is responsible for writing only half of Pericles, beginning with Act III. Visiting guest director, Emily Mendelsohn picks up her telling of the story at that point, following the story of Pericles and Marina. Setting her production at the front doors of the storied Shakespeare Theater, Mendelsohn said, “Pericles is about the power of story. We’re interested in standing at the site of this old gathering place to rehearse imagining kind futures in the midst of stormy times.”

Pericles rehearsal with Khin Thazin and Christine Liu.

Pericles rehearsal with Khin Thazin and Christine Liu.

Inspired by the history of Puritan life in Stratford in the 17th Century, Artistic Director and Romeo and Juliet director Brian McManamon sets the tragedy of star-crossed-lovers and feuding families on the site of Puritan settlements that now make up the Shakespeare Theater grounds.

Pericles performs July 28 and 30, Aug. 1 and 3, at 6:30 p.m. and Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. Romeo and Juliet performs July 29, Aug. 2, 4, and 5, at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, audiences will have the opportunity to see three Shakespeare productions in one day with Pericles at 2 p.m., Romeo and Juliet at 8 p.m. and the 2018 Shakespeare Academy Alumni Company performing Taming of the Shrew at 5 p.m.

Tickets are free for all performances. Online reservations for Romeo and Juliet and Pericles are recommended. For more information on the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford, including performances and tickets, visit shakespeareacademystratford.org.

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