Category Archives: Hoosier Shakes

Downtown Marion Rain Location

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Folks, we are excited to bring Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Pericles to the 3rd Street Courtyard beginning this Wednesday. We will perform “rain or shine.” In the event of rain or inclement weather, we will perform on the 2nd floor of the Grant County YMCA. The venue change will be posted on our Facebook page (facebook.com/hoosiershakes). Signs will be posted on the courtyard gate. And announcements will be made on local radio stations, including The Fortress 94.3 FM and Star 104.9.

Accessible Shakespeare

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Starting this week, Hoosier Shakes will perform “Pericles” and “Twelfth Night” at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash and 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion without charging admission.

“We want to make Shakespeare accessible to everybody,” Executive Director Greg Fiebig said.

The company will perform June 8-12 at Charley Creek Gardens and
June 15-26 at the 3rd Street Courtyard, partnering with local vendors to provide snacks before the show and during intermission. The cost of the performance is a free-will donation.

 

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“It’s a pay-what-you-will basis. So you come to a show. If you like what you see, you make a donation. … There are no ticket prices,” Fiebig said.

According to Fiebig, expensive ticket prices keep the public from attending theatre productions.

The company will perform using techniques similar to those used in Shakespeare’s day. These original practices include several costumes and props long with fast-paced delivery and audience interactions.

 

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“Shakespeare’s talent was seeing people and stories and putting them on stage in such a way that we can recognize ourselves and those around us,” Katie Wampler, the artistic director for Hoosier Shakes, said. “The stories resonate with us because we are living and seeing those stories around us.

Fiebig said he hopes to put on skeleton performances in local schools in the fall of 2017 in an effort to reach out to an audience of a younger age group.

“It’s unbelievable how accessible Shakespeare can be,” he said.

 

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By Megan Herrema and Rebekah Hardwicke

(Exit, pursued by a bear)

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William Shakespeare was a special guy. If we’re still putting his shows on 400 years later he must have done something right. I caught the Shakespeare bug 4 years ago at the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, Virginia performing  Pericles. Here I am 4 years later and I’m doing Pericles again. The beauty of Shakespeare is that you can put these shows on dozens of times and every experience is different. Every time I look at one of his scripts I find a new nuance in his writing that astounds me. The thing I love about being able to do both Pericles and Twelfth Night  at Hoosier Shakes is that I get two different visions of two classic plays from our directors and that, to me, is the essence of modern Shakespeare. Since we are not able to communicate with the Bard, it’s up to us as actors and directors to bring our own styles and ideas to the words we are given. That’s why we can have one version of Romeo and Juliet set in its original Verona and another set in Verona Beach. It doesn’t matter where it’s set or how the script is cut, Shakespeare’s words still hold strong all these years later and it is this longevity that draws us time and time again to the theater to watch his plays. Its why Shakespeare companies like Hoosier Shakes are popping up all the country. I’m proud that I get to speak these timeless words onstage and I can only hope I do his characters justice.

 

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Stage Manager as Storyteller

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Actors play the stage. Directors guide the actors, but the stage manager… What actually does a stage manager do?

This schooner from Pirates of Penzance may not look like Joanna, but she is the propulsion for it.
This schooner from Pirates of Penzance may not look like Joanna, but she is the propulsion for it.

Hello, I am Joanna Ruhl, the stage manager for Pericles and a jack of all trades. You won’t see me on the stage, but behind the scenes I have many jobs. Communication between the entire company, documentation of rehearsals, and acting as an unofficial sounding board are a few of my many roles within Hoosier Shakes this summer, not to mention keeping the shows on their feet when the directors leave. Fortunately, I share this responsibility with Elizabeth (Bizzy) Miner, the stage manager for Twelfth Night.

Joanna in the play Seven.
Joanna in the play Seven.

I have always been a storyteller, but more or less stumbled upon theater as a profession. Since I was young, I have had eclectic interests. I liked to use my hands to craft and create without neglecting the more analytical side of my brain. When searching for colleges my majors of choice ranged from molecular biology to theater. I picked theater. It wasn’t that molecular biology didn’t fascinate me, but rather that deep down I always looked for the story involved. Once this realization hit me, things fell into place and I landed at Indiana Wesleyan University as a Theater Major.

Here, in theater, I found a home for all my eclectic interests. Any particular day moves from constructing or painting a set with my hands to the study of the rhetoric and words of a script with my mind, moving in and out of a 3D conceptual image till it becomes a reality for the audience. I believe this is the magic of theater: to watch as words from a page become worlds on a stage. My job as a stage manager is to protect and guide this process so the production can blossom before the audience with a connection through story. I am honored this summer to join the team of Hoosier Shakes to bring Pericles and Twelfth Night from the page to the stage for the people of Grant County and beyond.

Before.after
Joanna’s scene design (before & after) for “Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage.”

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Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

This is Getting Real!

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JH

Shakespeare. The name alone foments an array of emotions from the deepest regions of my soul. I love Shakespeare. I loathe Shakespeare. Shakespeare makes me laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Shakespeare disgusts me and yet, somehow, arouses me. But this all pertains to reading the works of the Bard. Ask me how I feel about playing any of these fantastic characters. Go ahead and ask. Terrified! That’s how I feel.

WhenHoosier Shakes Executive Director Greg Fiebig first mentioned Hoosier Shakes to me a few years ago, I thought, “How awesome will that be for some other actor.” Then Fiebig asked me if I intended to audition. For those of you not in the know, one does not simply say “No” to Greg. At least, not with ease. More often than not, you simply say “Sure”, or some variant thereof. Of course I said yes to auditioning, fear of being cast notwithstanding. How could I not at least audition? After all, there have to be much better suited actors for this sort of shindig than the odd fellow with the long arms and stumpy torso that rudely breaks fellow actors’ audition concentration with off color joking, nonsensical stories and sentences that run on for days without an end in sight. Then came the call from Hoosier Shakes Artistic Director Katie Wampler. I was being offered roles in two plays. Oh man, things just got really real. Two shows! Learning two shows at the same time. Crafting my take on multiple characters…at the same time. Collaborating with immensely talented actors and directors on two shows…AT THE SAME TIME! It goes without saying that I felt a little overwhelmed, but I did accept the challenge offered to me.

Normally, I don’t get nervous. My ego is too big to allow any room for nervousness. But as the day rapidly approaches when I will come together with my fellow actors, I find that nervousness has become a helpful aid. It forces me to put in more work than I ever have before for any show. And even though I have convinced myself that I am still going to be the least prepared when rehearsals start, I cannot hardly wait to begin this incredible journey with these amazing people. Shakespeare will always scare me a little as an actor. But at least now I can say that he makes me nervous, too! In all seriousness, I am truly excited to see what lies in store in just a few more days.

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Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

Fall in Love with the Bard

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If you know me at all, you would know that I’ve always had a thing for the Bard. There’s just something about Shakespeare that is timeless and relatable. Recently, the world has celebrated the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and, with that, we celebrated how his works have been produced and performed by different peoples in different places and times throughout those 400 years. Shakespeare manages to relate to anyone and everyone, whether it’s a Japanese samurai version of Macbeth, (Throne of Blood), or a Puerto Rican infused musical version of Romeo and Juliet (West Side Story). Shakespeare has been taught in schools, performed on stage, and adapted to film – and his work always will be. When asked why I love Shakespeare or why I think his work is so popular, my answer is because Shakespeare had the art of capturing humanity.

Courtesy of Glen Devitt
Courtesy of Glen Devitt

So imagine my surprise when I found out I will be performing in Hoosier Shakes this summer. Here is a professional not-for-profit company that knows how good Shakespeare is and how important it is to share Shakespeare in the community, and I, a college student still wet behind the ears, get the honor to work with them. At first, I was really excited because I got to work with Shakespeare in a professional company and it would be good for experience and my resume. But, as time went on, I realized that what makes Hoosier Shakes great isn’t what I, the individual, gets out of it but because Shakespeare is being brought to the community. When putting on plays, it’s not meant for the performer. It’s meant for the audience. And what makes Shakespeare so great is that he knew his audience. His plays are meant for all: the highbrow and lowbrow, blue collar and white collar. Shakespeare manages to eloquently express all of our desires, fears, pains, and joys. And in a culture where quality theatre cannot be accessed without paying high prices, we are limiting those who can experience Shakespeare as he intended it – performed live in front of you. It is through performances of his work that the audience can truly understand how much Shakespeare understands them. And hopefully, through being able to see and hear his words, the audience would be able to understand something better about themselves. So the beauty about Hoosier Shakes is that they desire to make their Shakespeare performances accessible to all, because Shakespeare intended his works to be for all.

Courtesy of Glenn Devitt
Courtesy of Glenn Devitt

Hoosier Shakes is a benefit to Indiana because it gives students like me an opportunity to work professionally, but most importantly it aims to share high quality classical theatre to everyone. And maybe this summer, someone will fall just as deeply in love with the Bard as I have.

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Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

Reunited And It Feels So Good

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Jessica Schiermeister, MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College; lives in Charlottesville.
Jessica Schiermeister, MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College; lives in Charlottesville.

In my nine years of experience with Shakespeare’s plays, one man (besides the man himself) had a hand in my development. I met Jeremy Fiebig in the fall of 2007 when I was a college freshman, majoring in theatre, and he was a recent graduate of a master’s program. His first out-of-school job was as technical director at a little college in northern Iowa called Waldorf. Luckily for me, I decided to attend Waldorf just the previous spring. Our paths crossed and my life would surely never be the same.

Jeremy directed me in five Shakespeare productions, one musical, and two 19th century plays. He taught at least six of my undergraduate classes, he talked me into getting more involved with Waldorf’s costume and props departments, and he led a group of students, of which I was a part, on a whirlwind two-week trip to London. Somewhere down the

Jessica Schiermeister as Cecily and Jeremy Fiebig as Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, 2009, directed by Jeremy Fiebig.
Jessica Schiermeister as Cecily and Jeremy Fiebig as Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, 2009, directed by Jeremy Fiebig.

line he also talked me into adding the new Shakespeare Minor in addition to my theatre major, which led to an internship at the American Shakespeare Center and my acceptance into Mary Baldwin College’s Shakespeare and Performance Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts program. Unfortunately Jeremy left Waldorf to pursue another opportunity elsewhere during my junior year. Some of us were devastated. This man has believed in me for nine straight years. Thanks in large part to him, I now have three degrees, one of which is terminal, and a massive love for early modern drama that I certainly did not have in high school.

Entering graduate school in 2011, I wanted to act. I starred in every Shakespeare production Waldorf produced during my time there, and even directed one of my own, and I was ready. I was ready to enhance my skills and become an actor professionally. This did not pan out the way I originally hoped. Instead, I fell in love with scholarship and dramaturgy (something else to which Jeremy introduced me during undergrad). During my second year Master of Letters thesis, I discovered a topic in which I’ve since remained steadfastly interested. Acting has taken a back seat since then (except my time as the titular role in a five-woman production of Richard II during my MFA year, directed by Charlene V. Smith, and various other small projects).

Jessica Schiermeister as the Woman in Green and Steven Pals as Peer Gynt in Peer Gynt, 2010, directed by Jeremy Fiebig.
Jessica Schiermeister as the Woman in Green and Steven Pals as Peer Gynt in Peer Gynt, 2010, directed by Jeremy Fiebig.

 

I have never acted professionally. This summer with Hoosier Shakes is going to be different for me in a lot of ways. But I know that due to Jeremy’s guidance and my own experience, I’m going to have a great time. I’m thrilled to be able to work with him again and to spend time getting to know the other members of this company. Without Jeremy, I probably would not have discovered my love for Shakespeare and my life would be far more boring indeed.

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Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

Director Q & A: Patrick Midgley

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Director Patrick Midgley

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Patrick Midgley and I’m directing Hoosier Shakespeare’s production of TWELFTH NIGHT, or WHAT YOU WILL this summer.

For the past five years, I worked as an actor and educator at The American Shakespeare Center, where I played more than 75 roles in more than 40 productions, all performed in rep. I also completed two national tours. My paper on textual analysis, entitled “Echoes and Entreaties,” was delivered at the 2015 Blackfriars Conference.

Prior to that, I worked with The New York Shakespeare Exchange, The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, and The Ohio Shakespeare Festival.

I earned my MFA in Acting at Purdue University. I have a BA in History and Theatre from The College of Wooster, and this fall I’ll begin working toward my Ph.D. in Theatre from Texas Tech University.

What’s your experience with TWELFTH NIGHT?

It was the first Shakespeare play I read, in the summer between ninth and tenth grades. I was attending a summer academic program at UC Berkeley.

In graduate school, I played Sebastian in a workshop production. In 2012-13, I toured the country playing Antonio with The American Shakespeare Center.

It will be the first play I’ve ever directed–that’s right, this marks my directorial debut, and I couldn’t be more excited!

What’s up with the title?

Let’s take that one part at a time.

The first part of the title, TWELFTH NIGHT, refers to the Feast of the Epiphany. According to Christian tradition, the Epiphany is when the Three Magi presented gifts to the newborn Jesus. The traditional date for this holiday is January 6th: the “twelfth day of Christmas,” as the song goes.

In Shakespeare’s time, Twelfth Night marked the boundary of the Christmas season. Simply put: cut loose and party down.

At Twelfth Night parties, a “Lord of Misrule” would facilitate masquerades and dances. Men could dress as women and vice-versa. Servants could dress as masters and vice-versa.  This  was a chance to live an alternate life: to be whomever you pleased.

The second part of the title is a little trickier.

You can see “What You Will” as, well…as you like it. Perhaps it is intended to be linked to the idea of Twelfth Night: a wink at this very secular fashion for celebrating a religious holiday. Perhaps it is intended as an implication: in the moments of fantasy Twelfth Night provide, we are in fact living the life we most desire. Perhaps it is intended to dismiss the idea of Twelfth Night entirely: what you will, you know, whatever.

I don’t know for sure, but I like to think it is intended to raise our hopes just as Malvolio’s are when he stumbles across a letter addressed “to the unknown beloved.”

Patrick Midgley at Hotspur in HENRY IV, Part 1 (Photo by Lindsey Walters for The American Shakespeare Center)
Patrick Midgley at Hotspur in HENRY IV, Part 1 (Photo by Lindsey Walters for The American Shakespeare Center)

Who is your favorite character?

This is entirely impossible to answer and I refuse to do it!

But I will tell you a little bit about a few of my favorites.

There’s Sir Andrew: a guy who has never once thought about money because he hasn’t had to. A guy who is chivalric. Noble-hearted. Gentle. Sweet. Anxious.  He is child-like, naive, innocent, and (I’ll use this word again) SWEET.

Sweet Sir Andrew.

There’s Feste. He seems, as Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen of the ASC once wrote, “an escapee from the world of HAMLET.” He is mysterious, alluring, and equal parts sentimental and cynical. He possesses a talent that is undeniable and take-your-breath-away-ingly beautiful. And we can glimpse the clown backstage with his guard down, into his inner life: his loves, his not-quite-dead-yet hopes, and his shortcomings.

There’s Sir Toby. Irresistible, irresponsible, and irrepressible. Debonnaire. Lecherously charming. And yet, dwelling just beneath that confident, riotous persona, we sense (and soon see) a deep sadness and a profound loneliness.

Then, Olivia. Oh, Olivia. Perhaps Shakespeare’s most dignified character. Even productions that deliberately attempt to undermine her gravitas have been unable to make her anything less than a joy. She is both wise and child-like (but what child isn’t wise?). We see her in the depths of mourning and in the heights of new love.

And that’s just a taste. I hope you will come and fall in love with all of them.

What scene will be the most fun to direct?

Well, all of them, really. But Act One, Scene 5 certainly comes to mind, when Olivia  first meets Cesario.

What scene will be the hardest to direct?

The hardest? That’s easy. The 430-line Act 5. Anyone who has ever been in a Shakespeare play will agree with me there.

What is your concept for this production?

Alas, a concept. I confess I don’t have one. We’re not setting it in the Wild West or Outer Space. I’m not changing the order or scenes or adding elaborate backstories. You’ll see the play that Shakespeare wrote, spoken clearly with passion and with love. You’ll see it in all of its romance, its delicacy, its joyfulness, its cruelty, and its mystery.

This is the maiden voyage for Hoosier Shakespeare and I can’t think of a better play to begin with, or better actors with whom to take on the challenge.

I hope you’ll join us.

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Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

On Resurrections

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jer hs
Jeremy Fiebig, associate professor, Fayetteville State University @ founder of Sweet Tea Shakespeare, Fayetteville, NC

 

Hoosier Shakes is dead.

It’s dead because it has yet to incarnate even a single word of Shakespeare’s plays.

It’s dead because the playwright who lends his name to the company is dead. This April 23rd, we’ll even celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. He’s been very dead, a very long time.

We can’t even hope for him to emerge from his grave, if that sort of thing happens, because we found out recently that his head is missing.

Both plays Hoosier Shakespeare plans to perform this summer are soaked in death. In Twelfth Night, the story begins with word of four deaths — Olivia’s brother and father die before the play begins and in the second scene, we learn that Viola and Sebastian, twins separated in a shipwreck, believe each other dead. In Pericles, the title character thwarts an assassination attempt and then later, after his marriage and the birth of his child, he, too, is separated from his family, believing his wife, Thaisa, and daughter, Marina, to be dead at sea.

Pericles was co-written with Shakespeare by George Wilkins. He’s also dead. So are all the actors who first brought Pericles to life.

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Jeremy Fiebig as Sir Robin in Spamalot at Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville, NC

Hoosier Shakes is a theatre company built in the middle of a city and state and country that, in the “new” economy and since the Great Recession, have suffered more than its fair share of the death of jobs, extra income, and cultural life.

But in just a few short weeks, Hoosier Shakes, its artists, and audiences will get to take a big, new, fresh breath of life. We’ll give voice, for the first time and in Hoosier Shakes’ unique way, to these words again. The plays will come to life in read-throughs and actor bookwork and in our first on-our-feet rehearsals, in music and dance rehearsals, and on opening night. Life will come from the grass underneath our feet and the laughter in the throats of the audience and in the imaginations of everyone who shares a performance with us.

That’s how theatre works. Dead things come to life.

We create. We resurrect — we take dead stuff and breathe life into them.

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Jeremy Fiebig as Sancho in Man of La Mancha at Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville, NC

In Twelfth Night, will we see the resurrection of Viola and Sebastian? Will we see Malvolio emerge from the tomb of his dark house? Or Toby emerge with new life from his drowning in sack? In Pericles, will we see the resurrection of Thaisa, Marina, and Pericles himself?

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Jeremy Fiebig as Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers at Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Fayetteville, NC

Will our actors find life in and through these freshly spoken words? Will our audiences find new or renewed interest in the old, dead poets they haven’t encountered since high school English or college drama class? Will Shakespeare awaken the cozy streets of Marion and the downy meadows of Wabash?

Sounds ambitious. But resurrections and other things that breathe life into places and people are nothing if not ambitious.

Hoosier Shakes is dead. Long live Hoosier Shakes.

Jeremy Fiebig is directing Hoosier Shakes’ production of Pericles, running in June 2016. He is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and founder and Artistic Director/Master of Play at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. He is a proud husband to Nan and dad to Elliott and Owen.

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Twelfth Night and Pericles  will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.