April 3, 2012 – Calgary, AB… Theatre Calgary and Mount Royal University are thrilled to officially announce a new educational partnership that will see a longtime Calgary summer tradition, Shakespeare in the Park, return to Prince’s Island Park this summer for its 25th season.
This unique collaboration places the education of aspiring artists (recently graduated MRU students along with post-secondary graduates from across Alberta) front and centre. Combining Mount Royal University’s pedagogical strength and Theatre Calgary’s professional expertise, this unique mentorship program will use Shakespeare in the Park as its focal point to mentor, celebrate and encourage the next generation of theatre artists.
“Mount Royal University welcomes its new partnership with Theatre Calgary. A unique combination of Mount Royal Theatre students, graduates and Theatre Calgary's professionals will ensure the continuance of Shakespeare in the Park as a great outdoor summer tradition in our city,” says Mount Royal President David Docherty, PhD.
“It’s long overdue that Theatre Calgary expands our outreach to foster the next generation of artists,” says Theatre Calgary President Tom McCabe. “Our recent efforts with our successful FUEL program, have shown us the urgent need, and huge benefits, of mentoring emerging artists. Thanks to the incredible support of our audiences and supporters over the past few years, it is clear the time for us to give back is now.”
First produced in 1987, and last seen at Prince’s Island Park in 2010, Shakespeare in the Park has been an opportunity for Calgarians and their families to experience some of the greatest plays ever written, performed within an outdoor public space at no cost. Returning this institution to the Calgary summer has been a priority for both partners.
“There is no more simple joy than sitting outside in a beautiful park, with your family, and listening to some of the most beautiful words ever written,” says Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum. “It is so important to give Calgarians a chance to gather for an evening and watch a great story get told without any ticket cost to them.”
"I am so pleased that a beloved part of Calgary's summer arts scene will celebrate its 25th anniversary by joining the forces of MRU Theatre students and Theatre Calgary professionals, as together, they celebrate one of the Bard of Avon's great works," says Dean, Faculty of Communication Studies, Marc Chikinda.
Shakespeare in the Park will return to free public performances with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Prince’s Island Park. Each year, the acting company will benefit from working with a professional director with experience working with Shakespeare. This year, the director will be Michael Shamata, the artistic director of Victoria’s Belfry Theatre, who is renowned for his outdoor productions of the Bard in Canada.
“I’ve seen Michael direct Shakespeare outdoors and I have always been so impressed,” says Garnhum. “He has worked with both professionals and students across the country and will bring so much experience to these young artists. I’ve seen a sneak peek at what he is planning, and it will be magical.”
A Midsummer Night's Dream will run from June 27 – August 10, 2012. Showtimes (weather permitting) are Wednesdays – Sundays at 7:00pm, with added weekend matinees at 2:00pm (Note: June 30, July 1 only @ 7:00pm; No performances week of July 23). Admission is pay-what-you-can. A Midsummer Night's Dream is suitable for all ages.
For a copy of the official media release, click here