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Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre Brings the Bard to Village at Hendrix

By Rachel McLemore ‘12 

CONWAY, Ark. (June 10, 2011) – The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s As You Like It June 16-19at 7:30 on the lawn at the Village at Hendrix.

As the state’s only professional Shakespeare theatre company, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre functions as a major source of cultural exposure and education and community enrichment. Each year during the summer festival held in Conway, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre produces several Shakespearean plays and other works for public viewing.

In addition to the summer theatre festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre has an educational tour that takes one show a year to schools around the state. The company also offers students in Arkansas Governor’s School a significant reduction in ticket prices so that they can see the plays.

While many actors, directors, set and costume designers, and tech crew come from all over the country, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre makes an effort to employ local talent and offer internships to students in Arkansas colleges.

Currently, five Hendrix College students are interning with the group.

 “Because Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre brings in a lot of artists from outside Arkansas, it allows me to establish a lot of really great contacts in the professional theatre world, in many different cities,” said Emily Rahm from Richardson, Texas, who graduated from Hendrix in May 2011 with a degree in theatre arts.

The Conway community returns the favor by actively supporting Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

“This festival is a huge undertaking, and I have been astounded by all of the help and goodwill,” said Mary Ruth Marotte, a 1995 Hendrix alumnus, who serves as executive Director of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

Community members volunteer whatever services they can—for instance, a local designer volunteered his services for the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre website.

This year will be the first time Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre has staged an outside performance.

According to Marotte, they chose to do so at the Village at Hendrix because “the Village is an innovative concept and we believe our festival to be similarly innovative.”

The new venue should encourage people to stop by and see the show. Hopefully, by having an outdoor event, more people will be exposed to Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

The event is open to the public at no charge. Instead, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will be accepting donations.

Rachel McLemore is a senior history major from Marion, Ark. She is a student writer in the Office of College Relations and a member of the Office of Admission’s Hendrix Experience Ambassador Team (HEAT).