Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been selected to be a part of “Shakespeare on the Road,” an international celebration of Shakespeare taking place across America in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.
A team from the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust based in Stratford-upon-Avon will visit Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Aug. 1-5 as part of a 60-day road trip visiting 14 Shakespeare-related theatre festivals across America. The team will attend performances of “As You Like It” at the Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman on Aug. 3 and “Romeo and Juliet” on Aug. 4 in Philipsburg. There they hope to interview audience members about their experience with Shakespeare and Shakespeare in the Parks.
The “Shakespeare on the Road” team is made up of Paul Edmonson, head of research and knowledge from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Paul Prescott, associate professor at the University of Warwick, along with media partners, AJ and Melissa Leon of Misfit, Inc.
The team began its journey in Kansas City on July 4 and hit the road to determine how Shakespeare is being performed and celebrated across the U.S.
The team will award MSIP a commemorative plaque to mark the visit and the project team will give presentations about its work and the work of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity set up in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1847 to look after many of the world’s most important Shakespeare heritage sites.
In addition, MSIP will be invited to deposit material in the trust’s archives to create a permanent record of their activities. Regular updates on the visit will be blogged during the 60-day road trip. Edmonson and Prescott will also compile a book about their experiences.
“Shakespeare on the Road is about engaging with international communities who celebrate the world’s most famous playwright,” Edmonson said. “These are the people who make Shakespeare happen, year in year out.
“Every year almost three-quarters of a million people from around the world visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, and American tourists are a high proportion of these, so it’s a story of reverse pilgrimage, which we hope will start new conversations across the States.”
“The amount of Shakespearean theatre-making in America dwarves that of any other country, the U.K. included,” Prescott said. “Every summer, from sea to shining sea – and at all points in between – from spit and sawdust performances in local parks to slick professional productions in reconstructed Elizabethan playhouses, the Bard busts out all over the USA. This trip will take the pulse of Shakespeare in America over the course of one remarkable summer in 2014 and is a perfect way of celebrating his enduring popularity and the 450th anniversary of his birth.”
To follow the progress of Shakespeare on the Road, visit their website at www.shakespeareontheroad.com or follow them on Twitter at @bardintheusa. To learn more about Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.shakespeareintheparks.org.
Susan Dickerson (406) 994-3303 firstname.lastname@example.org