Monday, June 3, 2019

Soul of Wit - Two for the Price of One!

This week's Soul of Wit NON-podcast features our youngest company member AND the costume designer for All's Well That Ends Well!




Shakespeare On The Green is just around the corner.  It starts June 20th!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks: Juno's Swans

This week’s video: Nebraska Shakespeare’s all-female Juno’s Swans program. 

Artistic Director Sarah Lynn Brown joins Katie to share where the Juno’s Swans program began. Check it Out:



Check out the Juno's Swans/Shakepeare On The Green production of All's Well That Ends Well this summer!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Soul of Wit - A weekly NON-podcast

Check out our weekly non-podcast: Soul of Wit


Sarah Lynn Brown is sitting down with the artists of #ShakespeareOnTheGreen to ask them questions about the process at break-neck speed. No prep, no thinking time - just honest responses. Should be fun!


Check it out each Monday.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks - The King's Men

This week’s #NEShakesEDTalks video explores Shakespeare’s all-male theatre company!

Learn about Shakespeare’s Acting Company and how they came to be The King’s Men.



Join us every Thursday for a new video about Shakespeare, theatre, and 21st century life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

There's a lot to be excited for at this summer's Shakespeare On The Green!

Opening bands, an onsite art gallery, special event nights, and expanded activities are being added for the 2019 season of Shakespeare On The Green.


2019 will feature everything you've come to love about Shakespeare On The Green - awe-inspiring plays in a beautiful shaded setting, delicious food, and amazing memories with your family, friends, and community PLUS much so more!

In addition to great food and drink, nightly forums, and pre-play performances, we're partnering with a number of local artists and holding special event nights to expand the On The Green Experience:


Artist Partnerships:



Special Events On The Green:









We can't wait to see you this summer!  Shakespeare On The Green runs June 20-23, 27-30, and July 2, 3, 5-7!

Friday, May 10, 2019

OMAHA GIVES 2019 | Wednesday, May 22



We need your support on Wednesday, May 22nd for the 7th annual community giving event, Omaha Gives!


Join our GIVE TEN, GET TEN campaign for Omaha Gives! Gifts as little as $10 add up to a big difference in providing awe-inspiring productions and educational programming to our community.

The plan is simple: give ten dollars (or more) for Omaha Gives, then share with ten friends so they can do the same!


Donations are accepted for Omaha Gives from 12 am to 11:59 pm or SCHEDULE your donation now! Either way, together, we can continue to bring the astonishing professional-level plays we’ve come to love at Shakespeare On The Green and travel to thousands of students with truly inspiring educational curriculum.

Visit www.omahagives.org/NEShakespeare to join the movement!

All gifts are 100% tax-deductible.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks - Iambic Pentameter, Part Two!

This week on #NEShakesEDTalks, we're looking further into Iambic Pentameter - Check it out!



If you missed the first look at Iambic Pentameter, watch it HERE

Monday, May 6, 2019

We Appreciate The Teachers and Administrators who make Shakespeare On Tour Possible!

For #TeacherAppreciationWeek we want to give a shout-out to the teachers and administrators who have brought us out to share Shakespeare's work with their students during Shakespeare On Tour!


We're excited to have visited over 150 schools across the region:


Adams Middle School, Ainsworth High School, Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School, Arapahoe High School, Arcadia High School, Arnold High School, Arthur County High School, Aspen Creek Middle School, Atlantic High School, Aurora High School, Axtell High School, Beatrice High School, Bellevue East High School, Bellevue West High School, Benson Magnet High School, Beveridge Magnet Middle School, Blessed Sacrament Catholic, Boone Central High School, Boone Central Middle School, Boys Town High School, Brady High School, Brownell-Talbot High School, Bryan High School, Burke High School, Cambridge High School, Central High School, Central Valley High School, Clarinda High School, Columbus High School, Cozad High School, Creighton University, Crete High School, David City High School, Duchesne Academy, East Butler High School, East High School, Elgin High School, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School, Elkhorn High School, Elkhorn Middle School, Elkhorn Ridge Middle School, Elkhorn South High School, Elkhorn Valley View Middle School, Fremont High School, Fullerton High School, Garden County Elementary School, Garden County Junior/Senior High School, Gerald Otte Blair Middle School, Gering High School, Gothenburg High School, Grand Island Senior High School, Greeley-Wolbach High School, Gretna High School, Gretna Middle School, Gross High School, Hastings High School, Hemingford High School, Hershey Public School, Holy Cross Catholic School, Humboldt-Table Rock High School, Hyannis High School, Iowa Western Commmunity College, Kearney Catholic High School, Kearney High School, King Science Magnet Middle School, Kirn Middle School, Lewis and Clark Middle School, Lewis Central High School, Lewis Central Middle School, Lexington High School, Lexington Middle School, Lincoln Bryan High School, Lincoln East High School, Lincoln High School, Lincoln North Star High School, Lincoln Northeast High School, Lincoln Science Focus High School, Lincoln Southeast High School, Lincoln Southwest High School, Loomis High School, Louisville High School, Louisville Middle School, Madison Middle School, Marian High School, Marrs Middle School, Maxwell Public School, McCook High School, McPherson County High School, Mercy High School, Mid-Plains Community College, Millard North High School, Millard West High School, Minden High School, Monroe Middle School, Morton Middle School, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, Mullen Public Schools, Norfolk High School, Norfolk Middle School, North Magnet High School, North Platte High School, Northwest High School, Omaha Nation High School, Ord Elementary School, Ord Junior/Senior High School, Papillion LaVista High School, Papillion LaVista South High School, Pawnee City High School, Paxton High School, Plainview High School, Platteview Central Middle School, Platteview High School, Ralston High School, Ralston Middle School, Rising Star High School, Riverside Central High School, Rock County High School, Sacred Heart Catholic, Sidney High School, Skutt Catholic High School, South High School, South Platte High School, Spalding Academy, St. Albert Catholic High School, St. Edwards High School, St. John Middle School, St. Mary Catholic High School, St. Michaels High School, St. Patrick High School, St. Paul High School, Stuart High School, Sunrise Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School, Valentine High School, Wahoo High School, Wahoo Middle School, Wallace Public School, Washington High School, Waverly High School, Weeping Water High School, West Point Beemer Junior/Senior High School, West Point Central Catholic High School, West Point High School, Westside Career Center High School, Westside High School, Westside Middle School, Wheeler Central High School, Wilson Junior High School, Winnebago Public School, Wisner-Pilger High School.

YOU ROCK!


We can't wait to bring Othello  to schools this fall! Contact us so we can talk about how to bring this great play to your students!


Or visit www.nebraskashakespeare.com to learn more about the play!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks: "Thou" and "You"

Thou versus You. They're both used to refer to the person the speaker is addressing. Which do you think is the formal version we find in Shakespeare's plays?


This week, Katie is taking us through the difference between the two!

 

Check back each week for a new #NEShakesEDTalks video!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks: Theatre in Shakespeare's Time

Today we're looking at what it was like to be in the audience for a play in Shakespeare's Day!


 

Join us each Thursday for a new topic! And visit our social media sites (@NEShakespeare) and website to keep up to date on the events and activities planned!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday!

It's Shakespeare's Birthday and that means that across the state, today is #TalkLikeShakespeare Day! Enjoy the holiday by having fun with Shakespeare's language!
Visit www.nebraskashakespeare.com and Nebraska Shakespeare's social media (@NEShakespeare) for how to talk like Shakespeare, videos, activities, games and more throughout the day!
And with Shakespeare On The Green just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start or renew your membership for VIP seating, parking, and more great perks when you see All's Well That Ends Well and Hamlet this summer! 


#NEShakesEDTalks - Special #TalkLikeShakespeare Day Edition!

We've got a special #NEShakesEDTalks video this week giving you a running start on #TalkLikeShakespeare day with a few tips for speaking the speech!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

This week's #NEShakesEDTalks video: Who IS Shakespeare!

We're coming up on Shakespeare's Birthday on Tuesday (it takes a big cake to hold 455 candles!), so what better time to look at the man himself? Check it out!


Celebrate Shakespeare's birthday with us by participating in #TalkLikeShakespeare day all day long! 

Need some advice on how to Talk Like Shakespeare or some inspiration into how to make your day a little more Shakespearean?  Pop over to www.nebraskashakespeare.com.  We'll hook you up!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Meet the Instructors for Camp Shakespeare!

Camp Shakespeare classes are filling up fast, but there is still time to work with these amazing theatre artists!


We pride ourselves on not only giving students hands-on experience with Shakespeare's work, but also real insight into being a performer. Our instructors are working theatre professionals, touching down in Omaha for two weeks to create an unforgettable Shakespeare experiences for students - let's meet this year's instructors!



Matthew Olsen is excited to be returning for a fifth season with Nebraska Shakespeare and his first year with Camp Shakespeare as the Players Instructor. Among Matthew's many previous roles with Nebraska Shakespeare are Don Pedro (Much Ado), Banquo (Macbeth), Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew), Hamlet (Hamlet), and Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet).

Other credits include Thomas in Venus in Fur; Rudolph in The Matchmaker; Dell in Both Your Houses; Lee in True West; Frank in The School for Lies; and John in Oleanna. Matthew is an actor, director, and educator based out of Minneapolis. He holds an MFA in Acting from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory. You can catch him as Nick Chopper in the upcoming production of The Woodsman at the BLUEBARN. 



Colleen Kilcoyne is excited to return to Nebraska Shakespeare as the Apprentices Instructor, having last appeared in the Shakespeare On The Green production of The Tempest. Colleen is an educator, performer, and playwright native to Omaha. Colleen graduated from Creighton University with a BFA in Theater Performance. Favorite performance credits include Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Creighton), Percy Talbott in The Spitfire Grill (Creighton); and Gingy in Shrek the Musical (Rose Theater).

Colleen has worked as a Teaching Artist for organizations such as the Rose Theater, Omaha Girls Rock!, Ollie Webb Center. Inc, Shakespeare Behind Bars, and the National Association of Play Therapy, India. She is currently a Special Education Teacher for Chicago Public Schools and studies with The Second City and Chicago Dramatists.



Raydell Cordell III is back for his sixth year as Jesters Instructor.

Raydell worked as an actor with Nebraska Shakespeare in multiple summer and touring productions in addition to numerous appearances in productions throughout the community. Some of his favorite productions include: King John and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Nebraska Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird at the Omaha Community Playhouse, The Christians at BlueBarn Theater, The Reluctant Dragon at the Rose Theater, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Twelfth Night at University of Nebraska at Omaha.



Raydell has a BA in Theatre from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, worked for Westside Community Schools at Westbrook and Loveland Elementary for ten years, and participated in workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England. "Who Jests the Best? Jesters Jest the Best!"

Anna Jordan is joining Camp Shakespeare's five-timer club this year, as one of the Camp Co-Directors!
She received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2015, where she played the title role in Hedda Gabler. She has appeared in Nebraska Shakespeare’s tour of As You Like It, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—a collaboration with the Omaha Symphony—and served as assistant director, actor, and Camp Shakespeare Co-Director for multiple seasons On the Green.

From 2016-2017 Anna was an actor-educator with RESPECT and is currently a Disney Musicals in Schools teaching artist with Omaha Performing Arts. Most recently, Anna appeared in the world premiere of Van Gogh and Me as Adeline Ravoux, as Curious George in Curious George and the Golden Meatball (The Rose Theater), as Caroline in I and You, and you can catch her soon as Nimmee in The Strangemen Theatre Company’s The Woodsman at the BLUEBARN Theatre.

Ezra Colón joins Camp for the first time as Co-Director. Ezra recently moved to Omaha from Albuquerque, NM, where he was a company member with Duke City Repertory Theatre. Some of his favorite Duke City Rep productions include Death and the Maiden, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The 39 Steps, and Oedipus the King. He was also a resident actor at the Barter Theatre, where he performed in over 40 productions in the span of 5 years. His favorite Barter roles included Dave Bukatinsky in The Full Monty, Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein, Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, and Hamlet in Hamlet.

For Nebraska Shakespeare, Ezra directed the touring production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and has been seen on the Shakespeare On The Green stage as Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing, the Fool in King Lear, Hubert in King John, and Seyton in Macbeth, among other roles. Ezra has a B.F.A. in Performance from Columbus State University and is part of Actors Equity Association.

With this great line-up of Educators, the only thing missing is YOU. There's still time to join the 2019 class for Camp Shakespeare - Click HERE to register today!

Questions about Camp Shakespeare? Contact Director of Education, Katie Becker Colón at katie@nebraskashakespeare.com.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What to expect at Timon of Athens

We sat down with Sarah Lynn Brown to talk about this weekend's performance of Timon of Athens! Take a look:

  

Join us at Gallery 1516 on Saturday, April 6 at 2 PM. The performance starts at 3 PM, but join us early to view the art, meet the cast and staff, and enjoy a glass of wine.


Click HERE to learn more.

#NEShakesEDTalks: Iambic Pentameter

Check out today's video on Shakespeare's use of Iambic Pentameter!

Try your hand at writing like Shakespeare by submitting to our Sonnet Writing Contest by April 23rd! Click HERE to learn more.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Now accepting submissions for the 22nd Annual Anne Dittrick Sonnet Contest

Submit your Sonnet By April 23! 


The 22nd Annual Sonnet Writing Contest starts today. There is no entry fee for participants. Winners receive prizes or free tuition to Camp Shakespeare as well as reserved seating for Shakespeare On The Green!

Middle School Division Guidelines

The contest is open to all middle school students. Contest winners and will receive:
  • A scholarship to Camp Shakespeare
  • Reserved seating at Shakespeare On The Green for the winner and his or her teacher.
  • The winning entry will be published in the souvenir program for Shakespeare on the Green and read by a Company member On The Green.

High School Division Guidelines

The contest is open to all high school students. Contest winners and will receive:
  • A scholarship to Camp Shakespeare
  • Reserved seating at Shakespeare On The Green for the winner and his or her teacher.
  • The winning entry will be published in the souvenir program for Shakespeare on the Green and read by a Company member On The Green.

Adult Division Guidelines

First prize in the Adult/Post Secondary Division receives:
  • A Shakespeare On The Green gift.
  • Reserved seating at Shakespeare On The Green.
  • The winning entry will be published in the souvenir program for Shakespeare on the Green and read by a Company member On The Green.

Visit our website to learn more or submit a sonnet.

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 www.nebraskashakespeare.com 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!!
NUMBER ONE:
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."

NUMBER TWO:
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.
NUMBER THREE:
Othello 
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.

NUMBER FOUR:
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. 
NUMBER FIVE:
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:


CAST

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

Athenians

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

#FemaleForward2019

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...

NUMBER ONE:
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
NUMBER TWO:
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
NUMBER THREE:
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



#WHYISWAN 
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!