Hoosier Shakes is a non-profit repertory company that specializes in producing outdoor theatre with simple staging practices, live music, and quality performances. Hoosier Shakespeare hires professional and student artists who, in addition to producing plays, engage in mentorship and artistic development centered around the theatre adventure.
Hoosier Shakes works to reveal the delight of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and ideas by producing accessible, quality performances for the audiences of eastern Indiana and beyond and by providing exceptional developmental experiences for students, learning professionals, and guest artists.
Hoosier Shakes seeks to inspire communities in central and eastern Indiana and beyond around the adventure of classical theatre.
The goals of Hoosier Shakes are:
- to vitalize the performance of Shakespeare and other drama for the diverse communities of Marion and Grant County, Indiana by presenting inspiring, accessible, literate, experiential theatrical performance;
- to foster community and fellowship around the enterprise of theatre in outdoor and other beautiful spaces.
- to provide exceptional avenues for artists and audiences of all backgrounds to take part in recovering the joys of Shakespeare and live performance.
Hoosier Shakes embraces a number of early modern staging practices in its performances, including:
- Universal Lighting
Shakespeare’s theatres, and many others, enjoyed light that illuminated actor, stage, and audience alike, allowing for engagement between the actor and the audience member.
- A Surrounded Space
Throughout theatre history, and especially in Shakespeare’s theatres, audiences surrounded a central performance space now known as thrust and arena staging. When the audience surrounds the playing space, they are part of the world of the play, visible to actor and other audience members, participating in the performance.
- Simple Staging
Early modern theatres didn’t have elaborate sets. In Shakespeare’s theatres, acting companies performed different plays each day, so there wasn’t time for a complete set to be built. Simple sets upend the economics of making theatre, putting the emphasis on actor and text.
Many Shakespeare plays, from Hamlet to Macbeth to the histories, have dozens of characters, but early modern playing companies often had casts between 12 and 15. With a small group of actors and many characters, it was common practice for actors to play more than one role.
- Enlivened Costuming
With simple sets and doubled actors, costumes are of critical importance to Shakespeare’s theatres. They served as the primary visual draw for a production and helped distinguish between characters. Importantly, Shakespeare’s theatres wore what was for them modern dress. Think the equivalent of a t-shirt and jeans, an evening gown, a tuxedo, or military fatigues for teenagers, ladies-in-waiting, lords, or soldiers, respectively.