Saturday, March 30, 2019

Support Women Artists Now - It's #SWANDay!

Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day is an annual international celebration of women’s creativity and gender parity. We asked why you support women artists during our month-long #WhyISWAN event.  This is what you said:

It's never too late to say why you support female artists! Print off the Why I SWAN SIGN for a selfie, or post a social media story with the hashtags #WhyISWAN and #FemaleForward2019 to join this important conversation!

And join us next Saturday for our first #FemaleForward performance of the season with Timon of Athens at Gallery 1516!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Not to be Missed - Donmar Warehouse's Julius Caesar on PBS Great Performances!

The Donmar Warehouse production of Julius Caesar is airing tonight!

If you want to join NS and friends during the premiere, we're holding a casual screening party in room 201 of the UNO Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

Bring your snacks, friends, or just yourself! It premieres tonight on PBS at 8 PM CST and on streaming starting tomorrow. Read more about the production and broadcast schedule HERE.

Check out this amazing production, then join us next week for TIMON OF ATHENS at Gallery 1516!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Celebrate Shakespeare's Writing for National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is just around the corner and we're getting pumped for a month of exploring Shakespeare's Language!

We're kicking off our 2019 performances with a reading of Timon of Athens. The play is an examination of privilege and poverty: Timon is a celebrated member of Athens, whose exploitation by false friends forces us to gaze into the cravings we all share.

On April 6th, we'll be exploring this lesser-produced script surrounded by the phenomenal artwork at Gallery 1516! The performance starts at 3 PM, but come early to meet the staff and cast.

Join us at 2 PM to enjoy a glass of wine, mingle, and take in the artwork in the Nebraska 8 Invitational exhibition. At 3 PM, the heavy-hitting cast of talented local and regional actors will present the play!

Click HERE to learn more about the reading!

Starting on April 1st, submissions will be accepted for the 22nd annual season of the Anne Dittrick Sonnet Writing Contest. With adult, middle school, and high school divisions (and no entry fee), everyone can participate! 

Looking for tips and inspiration? Check out our new #NEShakesEDTalks video series (we're looking at sonnets for this month's topic) on YouTube!

Winning sonnets will be featured at Shakespeare On The Green and authors will receive prizes or tuition-free attendance to Camp Shakespeare.

Speak’st thou with love on thy lips and full life in thy heart! The Governor proclaimed April 23rd (Shakespeare's Birthday) as Talk Like Shakespeare Day across the state!

Celebrate Shakespeare's language with tips and activities for the classroom, at work, or just for kicks throughout the day. Visit our Talk Like Shakespeare page for fun ways to participate in the holiday.

Visit for more information on all things Nebraska Shakespeare, or follow @NEShakespeare on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Final #SwanSunday! Celebrate with us on March 30th

Welcome to the final week of Swan Sunday!!

I am so glad that you have joined us as we have explore the history of women in Shakespeare. This week we are going to look ahead to the up coming #FEMALEFORWARD theatrical productions for 2019. (Make sure you read to the end. NUMBER FIVE is an all-female production that will be easily accessible across the nation this upcoming Friday!)

Also, a reminder that this Saturday, March 30th is SWAN DAY!  Please celebrate with us by printing out your own #WHYISWAN page (link above) and let us know why you Support Women Artists Now! We will feature all the submissions on our social media that day.
Ok, so let’s get started with some of the exciting all-female productions in 2019!!
Mac Beth 
at The Red Bull Theatre
May/June 2019
Isabelle Fuhrman, will star in the title role of an all-female reimagining of Shakespeare’s MacbethAdapted and directed by Erica Schmidt, the Red Bull Theater Company production will begin previews May 7 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City.
"This reinterpretation of Macbeth is based on the Slender Man and Skylar Neese murder cases. On an autumn afternoon, in an empty lot outside the city, seven girls meet up to do a play with witches, ghosts, and kings, but soon the line between real life and blood fantasy quickly blurs."

Richard II 
at The Globe Theatre 
February-April 2019
 Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton direct the first ever women of color company in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage. Richard II,  playing in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, marks the beginning of a cycle of history plays that will provide a unique opportunity to rediscover how Shakespeare perceived his England.
at Harlem Shakespeare Festival
April 2019
Debra Ann Byrd, the founder and Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival, leads and all female cast as the title role in Othello. This unique vision of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays about jealousy, intrigue, and betrayal as you’ve never seen before.

at Nebraska Shakespeare 
June 20th- July 7th
Nebraska Shakespeare has been gradually growing opportunities for female actors over the past few seasons, and this upcoming summer we are thrilled to be taking our largest step ever with this Female Forward season for 2019. Just four short summers ago, the first Juno’s Swans production was presented to a small audience in UNO’s Weber Fine Arts Building, since then we have produced staged readings of Richard 3 and Julius Caesar at The Blue Barn Theatre in 2017 and 2018. We are so excited to present this FEMALE FORWARD main-stage production of All's Well That Ends Well for 2019 Shakespeare On The Green. 
Julius Caesar at Donmar Warehouse
March 29th, 2019 at 8pm CST
Though this production was produced in 2013, it is FINALLY being show in the US this Friday, March 29th on PBS. Set in a women’s prison, Julius Caesar offers a powerful dramatization of the catastrophic consequences of a political leader’s extension of power beyond constitutional confines through an all-female lens. In this acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production directed Phyllida Lloyd, Shakespeare’s famous discourse on power, loyalty and tragic idealism is heightened against the backdrop of female incarceration. 
The cast stars Tony Award-nominee Harriet Walter (“Sense and Sensibility,” “Mary Stuart”) as Brutus, Jackie Clune (“Borderline”) as Caesar, Martina Laird (“EastEnders”) as Cassius, Jade Anouka (“Cleaning Up”) as Mark Antony. 
Performed in-the-round and enhanced by a guerilla filming style on a mostly bare stage, Julius Caesar creates a unique perspective on Shakespeare’s tragedy. GoPros and a drone offer a stark reminder of the prison setting, and heavy metal music blasts to highlight the conflict on stage. The production was the first of a trilogy of all-female Shakespeare productions at London’s Donmar Warehouse that The Guardian called “one of the most important theatrical events of the past 20 years.” This production of Julius Caesar,  as well as the theatre's all-female Henry IV and The Tempest, was in association with the theater company Clean Break and the York St. John University Prison Partnership Project.
We are so excited for Nebraska Shakespeare's Female-Led (Susie Baer Collins as Timon) Director's Reading to kick off our #FemaleForward2019 season on April 6th at 3pm at Gallery 1516. Join us for this meet and greet, staged reading, and discussion.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Cast of Timon of Athens!

We hope you'll join us for our reading of Timon of Athens on April 6th.  The reading will start at 3 PM, but stop by at 2 PM to check out the amazing artwork at Gallery 1516 and chat with the Nebraska Shakespeare staff.

We're excited to showcase this lesser known play and work with these talented performers:


Timon, a noble of Athens  Susan Baer Collins

Timon’s Household

Flavius  Katie Becker Colón
Lucilius  Garett Garniss
Flaminius  Robby Stone
Servilius  Suzanne Withem

Lords of Athens

Lucullus  Torisa Walker
Sempronius  Ezra Colón
Ventidius  Raydell Cordell III


Alcibiades, a soldier  Hannah Clark
Apemantus, a philosopher  Matthew R. Olsen
a Poet  Suzanne Withem
a Painter  Garett Garniss
a Jeweler  Robby Stone
First Senator  Ashley Kobza
Second Senator/Good Father  Beau Fisher
Varro, a lender/collector  Katie Otten
Isidore, a lender/collector  Matthew Kischer

Narration  Mallory Stone


Sunday, March 17, 2019

#SwanSunday: Third Flight...

Wesley Houston, Nebraska Shakespeare
Director of Production and Communication,
showing his love for Swans. #WhyISwan #nailingit
Welcome back for week three of our #SwanSunday series!! Each Sunday in March we are highlighting #femaleforward Shakespeare companies and productions. The past two blogs have featured women taking on the largest male roles in Shakespeare’s plays (Hamlet, Othello, Richard III, and Henry V).  This week we are going to [swan] dive into three of the first female-focused companies in the US. These companies explored the mirror image of Shakespeare’s all-male company (Lord Chamberlain’s Men/King’s Men) of the late 16th/early 17th centuries. Even though two are no longer producing, their groundbreaking work laid the foundation for the all-female work we are currently exploring today. 
Before we get started (it's St. Patty's Day!), here's a shout out to...
In 2015, this company presented the Henriad (plays of Richard II, Henry 1V, Parts One and Two, and Henry V) with Irish female actors Derbhle Crotty as Bolingbroke and Aisling O’Sullivan as Hal and Henry V. The production received rave reviews and sparked a female forward movement in the Ireland theatre scene.
 "Sinking their teeth into Shakespeare, this brilliant Druid ensemble clutch him down to the sad, saving, and sacred earth where his work belongs, and you leave stunned by the measure and the ferocity of their bite."- Irish Examiner
Ok, now that we have all celebrated some awesome Irish women, let's explore the first #femaleforward companies in America...

Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company
Mission: To provide a creative forum for the exploration of violence, victimization, power, love, race, and gender issues, and to provide positive role models for women and girls. (LAWSC productions ran for over twenty years, providing countless opportunities to female actors throughout the country.)
First Production: LAWSC opened in 1993 with an all-female production of Romeo and Juliet featuring Natsuko Ohama as Friar Lawrence and artistic director Lisa Wolpe in the role of Romeo. 
"It doesn't require a vast stretch of the imagination to get involved in this production. [...] the performances are one of the reasons why."- LA Times
Final Production: Hamlet 2017
"Wolpe is one of the great stage actors of our generation who breathes life into Shakespeare's words as though they were dredged from her own soul."
-Broadway World LA
Judith Shakespeare
Mission: To bring Shakespeare's language to life with clarity and vitality, while expanding the presence of women in classical theatre.
JSC, established 1995, was not a totally all-female company, but they produced many reverse-gender cast shows and all-female productions in NYC before they closed their doors in 2015. 
"...this is no trendy girl power outing. This is Shakespeare for the masses!"- Theatre Scene
Queen’s Company
Mission: A NYC-based nonprofit theatre company dedicated to the creation of inventive productions of classical plays featuring all-female casts. We advocate for greater opportunities for classically trained professional female actors through all-female productions and gender-blind casting in classical theatre.
First Production: Macbeth (2000)
Recent Production: The Taming of the Shrew
"Because every actor was cast according to how her personality fit the role, not according to gender, the production is an organic ensemble theatrical experience… Every moment in the play was active, honest and alive with brilliance"- Off Off Line

On a personal note, I am so grateful for these brave, strong women that provided opportunities for female Shakespeare actors in a very male-dominated landscape. Over the past decade, we, as a community, have learned so much about the importance (or unimportance) of gender. We have started to explore gender fluidity. We have begun to appreciate the power and strength within the female gender. I respect these bold artists that spoke the first words that have led to a larger gender discussion. But now, the aesthetic of gender performance has begun to shift. Women are no longer required to hide their femininity to speak traditionally-male roles. Shakespeare was writing about the human condition, and therefore his works and characters transcend gender. Gender performance is moving away from requiring women to "play men," and heading rapidly towards celebrating Shakespeare through the feminine experience. Next week, we will explore this new frontier of All-Female Shakespeare as we look forward to some very exciting UPCOMING productions for 2019!

Remember to post your #SWANDAY picture to social media on or before March 30th. Tag @neshakespeare on Facebook and Instagram, so we can see all the ways you are Supporting Women Artists Now! 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Announcing The Cast of Shakespeare On The Green 2019

A lot of talented performers turned out to this season's auditions and we're excited to announce the cast of Shakespeare On The Green 2019:

All's Well That Ends Well

Margaret Catov  King of France
Madison Roman  Duke of Florence
Tolu Ekisola  Bertram
Amelia Ampuero  Lafeu
Katie Becker Colón  Parolles

Hannah Clark  Reynaldo
Roshni Desai  Lavatch

Tricia Mancuso Parks  Countess Rousillon
Sophie Netanel  Helena
Ann Marie Pollard  Widow Capilet
Anna Jordan  Diana
Suzanne Withem  Mariana

Miranda Neuhaus  Young Dumaine
Chloe Irwin  Younger Dumaine
Genevieve Simon  Soldier One
Danielle Robertson  Soldier, Ensemble
Sophie Knauss  Soldier, Ensemble
Vivian Parr  Soldier, Ensemble

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Genevieve Simon  Hamlet
Martin Thomas Andrews  Claudius
Margaret Catov  Gertrude
Henry Ragan  Horatio

Tricia Mancuso Parks  Polonius
Sophie Netanel  Laertes
Katie Becker Colón  Ophelia

Frank Green  Ghost, Gravedigger, Player King
Roshni Desai  Bernardo, Ensemble
Ann Marie Pollard  Marcellus, Player, Ensemble
Tolu Ekisola  Rosencrantz, Ensemble
Shaan Sharma  Guildenstern, Ensemble

Hannah Clark  Voltimand, Osric, Ensemble
Amelia Ampuero  Cornelius, Player Queen, Ensemble
Danielle Robertson  Fortinbras, Ensemble
Jacob J. Roman  Captain, Ensemble
Vivian Parr  Ensemble

Shakespeare On The Green will hold performances from June 20th through July 7th, 2019. For more information, visit


#NEShakesEDTalks: Write your own sonnet!

Last week, Katie talked to us about what a sonnet is, and now that our sonnet writing contest is getting closer, are you ready to start writing your own?  

Katie's got some tips for topics to write about to get you started.  Check it out!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Shakespeare On The Silver Screen Brings National Theatre Live to Midtown!

Alamo Drafthouse announced that the screening of “National Theatre Live: Macbeth,” set for March 18 at Alamo's Midtown location, will be the first of many more National Theatre Live Events on the horizon!


As you've probably heard, we're collaborating with Alamo Drafthouse to present this year's season of Shakespeare On The Silver Screen, including the National Theatre Live broadcast of Macbeth. The screening will be held at Alamo Drafthouse’s newly-opened Midtown location on Monday, March 18. 

National Theatre Live is a project to broadcast live stage productions from professional theatres in the UK. During Monday's screening, movie-goers will be able to view the professional London production of Macbeth, filmed live at the Olivier Theatre in 2018. 
A scene from Macbeth. Photo by Brinkhoff and Moegenburg.
Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (The Threepenny Opera, London Road), shows us the ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.

Anne-Marie Duff as Lady Macbeth and Rory Kinnear as Macbeth. Photo by Brinkhoff and Moegenburg.
The performance stars Rory Kinnear as Macbeth. Kinnear is known for his onscreen roles as Frankenstein’s Monster in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful; as Bill Tanner in the Daniel Craig era James Bond films Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre; and for his onstage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre where he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Shakespeare’s villain Iago in Othello.

Each National Theatre Live broadcast is filmed in front of a live audience in the theatre, with cameras carefully positioned throughout the auditorium to ensure that cinema audiences get the ‘best seat in the house’ view of each production. A discussion will accompany this screening, led by Nebraska Shakespeare Artistic Director Sarah Brown.


Inspired by the On The Silver Screen collaboration, Alamo Drafthouse announced that they will be presenting all National Theatre Live events at their Midtown location, making Macbeth the inaugural event for ongoing National Theatre Live programming at Alamo!

Shakespeare On The Silver Screen is a focused on highlighting filmed versions of Shakespeare’s works. With National Theatre Live’s history of presenting such Shakespearean plays as King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Julius Caesar, among others, you can imagine our excitement that Omaha will be seeing many more screenings in the future!

Events like National Theatre Live’s Macbeth give the Omaha community access to impeccable theatre from around the globe. It is wonderful that more National Theatre Live events are being planned, and for the neighborhoods near Midtown that haven’t regularly had this opportunity. Though these performances are no replacement to attending live theatre, they are a great way to view a variety of productions for the price of a movie ticket, rather than a plane ticket. Plus, you can wear comfortable clothes and eat bottomless popcorn!
-Artistic Director, Sarah Lynn Brown
The Shakespeare On The Silver Screen presentation of National Theatre Live: Macbeth” will take place on Monday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse – Midtown (3201 Farnam St #6111, Omaha, NE 68131).  

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Alamo Drafthouse box office, or online at

For more information, visit

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Happy #SwanSunday (Part Two)!!

Happy Swan Sunday (Take Two)!!
Nebraska Shakspeare's Director of Education
Katie Becker Colón. #whyIswan #shesthecoolest
For this second #SwanSunday of our #FemaleForward2019 season, we are going highlight more female actors that have stepped into traditionally male roles in Shakespeare plays. Excitingly, there were quite a number to choose from (yay!), most notably, Tamsin Greig's Malvolio for The National Theatre and Harriet Walter's Prospero for St. Ann's Warehouse both produced in 2017. These brave and breathtaking performances prepped set the stage (#literally) for additional dynamic performances in 2018. Last #SWANSUNDAY, we explored the history of female Hamlets (#foreshadowing), so this week we are going to focus on the most recent women living large in Shakespeare's other title roles.
An all-female production of Bring Down the House (Henry VI trilogy) in 2017 lead to Sarah Harlett starring in the role of Richard III to complete the historical arc. The production was produced by Seattle Shakespeare Company with artists from upstart crow collective. Seattle Weekly said, of the company's foray in to female led productions, “When female actors have the chance to collaborate, it benefits the entire Seattle theater community, raising the standard of production to a bold new level.” Ummmmm. Yup. I agree with that. (Side note: If you want more women reading Richard III, join us for Coupled & Inseparable: A Discussion of Gender(less) Shakespeare Wednesday, March 13th at 6:30pm on UNO Campus!)

New York's Public Theatre is known for its creative and daring Shakespeare. Their Mobile Unit (touring production) of Henry V starring Zenzi Williams as Henry was no exception. The company performed for 3 weeks in New York City's correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations, and other community venues, before completing a 5-week run of FREE performances at The Public Theatre. “The casting of the engaging Zenzi Williams, an African-American actress, as Henry, a canny move that makes us ask some useful questions about whom we expect to see leading an army and rocking a crown. Ms. Williams can do both, handily. It's unclear whether she's playing the part as male or female. It's extraneous, too. Gender doesn't seem to matter to this production.”--New York Times.

Golda Rosheuvel starred as Othello with the Liverpool's Everyman Company in 2018. This production presented the relationship of Othello and Desdemona as multi-racial, lesbian marriage. “In changing the gender of Othello - making the character is a woman who has excelled in what is clearly very much a man's world - the stakes are raised, and the evening speaks to present-day workplace politics.”- The Guardian 
(Female Othello?  Hmmmm. That is a good idea.What are we producing for tour this year... #bloghints #insidescoop)

In 2018, Bard on the Beach's Timon of Athens presented Colleen Wheeler in the titular role of Timon. The extremely contemporary production, at the Douglas Campbell theatre in Vancouver, was critically well-received and, most notably, not one review I could find focused on the gender of the cast. #pleasantlysurprised #niceworkcanada

Join us next week as we [swan] dive into our third #SWANSSUNDAY and explore the history of the all-female Shakespeare production.
Want to see a female actor take on the role of Timon first hand? Of course you do! Join us on April 6th at 3pm at Gallery 1516 for Nebraska Shakespeare's Reading Series of Timon of Athens!

Print off your own "Why I SWAN" sign, fill in reasons for why you supporting women artists, and post it to social media.  
Use Hashtags #WhyISWAN and #FemaleForward2019 and we will include it in our social media on 
SWAN DAY (March 30th).