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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Most Rare Vision -- Downtown and Crosstown

Flatwater Shakespeare Begins Tour of Lincoln

Mike Hollins, Daily Nebraskan, June 13, 2011

What's better than enjoying some Shakespeare on a warm summer night? How about enjoying some Shakespeare on a warm summer night under the blanket of a beautiful starlit sky?

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company will begin its Lincolnwide tour of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on June 15 with performances around the city until July 10.

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company is a Lincoln-based ensemble that has been collaborating with local artists for more than 10 years to bring Shakespeare's plays and other classic works to the stage.

Stephen Buhler, an English professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and educational director of the Flatwater Shakespeare Company, expressed the organization's intentions to expand the audience for live theater.

"Younger audiences, non-traditional audiences and under-represented groups can all be better connected with the dramatic arts," Buhler said. "That's a major reason why attendance at this production is offered free of charge – although we'll happily accept free-will donations."

Buhler also explained why this summer's shows will be a bit different from years past.

"For over a decade, we have performed our June shows at the Swan Theatre, located at the old carriage house at Wyuka Cemetery," Buhler said. "A major renovation grant means that the Swan is unavailable for this summer and next summer."

Since the theatrical group was forced to find a new venue for their upcoming production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," they opted for a citywide tour across Lincoln, performing at several outdoor locations throughout the play's four-week run.

"This is our first outdoor staging of the play," Buhler said while explaining how Midsummer's mood lends itself perfectly to an outdoor performance. "Along with being one of Shakespeare's most magical plays, it's also one of his liveliest — with much of the action taking place outdoors, under the moon and stars."

From June 15-26, Wednesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., the Flatwater Shakespeare Company will perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lincoln Community Foundation Gardens located on N Street between 14th Street and Centennial Mall.

Sarah Peetz, the vice president for community outreach at the Lincoln Community Foundation, feels that the gardens will provide an ideal setting for the Shakespearean classic.

"It is a beautiful space and can accommodate a large audience," Peetz said. "A Midsummer Night's Dream is traditionally performed in an open air venue, so using the Foundation Garden continues Flatwater Shakespeare's tradition of open air summer productions."

From June 30 through July 10 the company takes its production on tour with performances all across Lincoln, starting at Prescott Elementary on June 30, Cooper Park on July 1, Bethany Park on July 2, Henry Park on July 3, First Plymouth Congressional Church on July 7, Trago Park on July 8, Antelope Park on July 9 and wrapping things up at Woods Park on July 10.

Bob Hall is the founder of the Flatwater Shakespeare Company and director of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hall hopes Lincolnites will turn out to enjoy Shakespeare's humorous play free of charge.

"It's probably the most popular comedy ever written," Hall said. "For those who aren't familiar with Shakespeare, this is an excellent opportunity to give it a try. I guarantee that everyone will have a good time."

Call 402-473-2897 for information and reservations!

Photo: Eric Ojeda as Bottom, Mike Lee as Puck, Robie Hayek as Quince, and Nate Ruleaux as Flute in the Flatwater Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Credit: John Nollendorfs.


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