Wisconsin-based traveling theatre company Summit Players Theatre is returning to live, outdoor performance and will perform Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” Friday, Aug. 5, at Wildcat Mountain State Park in rural Ontario.
The performance, which will start at 7 p.m. will be free and preceded by a 45-minute educational workshop, which is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re thrilled to be entering our seventh year of performing in the parks,” said Executive Director A.J. Magoon, a founding member of the organization. “There’s a reason ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. It’s hilarious and heartfelt, and this version is perfect for audiences of all kinds.”
Each Much Ado About Nothing show will be 75 minutes long and completely free, in accordance with the company’s mission of creating Shakespeare anyone can afford, attend, and understand. Through a collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Summit Players are also able to introduce audiences around the state to their local parks.
The group’s educational workshop, “Inside Shakespeare’s Story: Much Ado About Nothing” is new this year and offered before every show. It serves as a way for kids and “fun adults” to get comfortable with the play, Shakespeare’s language and the way nature played into his works. Participants take part in Shakespeare games and exercises culminating in performing a short scene.
This year, the Summit Players team boasts five new members: Maya Danks, Emma Knott, King Hang, Ogunde Snelling Jr and George Lorimer. All five will act in “Much Ado About Nothing” as well as serve as teaching artists for the company.
“I think the best part is that every year the program comes back, but there’s always something new” said Caroline Norton, education director and three-year alumna of the company’s tours. “The workshop content changes, the play changes and that means people who have seen our shows for years will enjoy everything just as much as people who have never seen us before.
Summit Players Theatre’s 2022 season is supported in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board and Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.