FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 12, 2020
Contact: Katalin Mitchell
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
announces The Tempest postponed until 2021
Boston, MA — Due to the continued effects of COVID-19 on Boston and its community, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is postponing its production of The Tempeston the Boston Common until July 2021 with the same artistic and design team, as scheduling allows, including Tony Award nominee John Douglas Thompson* as Prospero, Remo Airaldi* as Antonio, Nora Eschenheimer* as Miranda, actor/playwright John Kuntz* as Trinculo, Nael Nacer* as Caliban, Richard Noble as Alonso, Fred Sullivan, Jr.* as Stephano, and Michael Underhill as Ferdinand. Scenic Design is by Tony Award winner Clint Ramos and Jeffrey Petersen, Costume Design by Nancy Leary, Lighting Design by Eric Southern, and Sound Design by David Reiffel.
Founding Artistic Director Steven Maler says “Over the past eight weeks we’ve watched the pandemic evolve with an optimism that, whatever the circumstances, we as a Company and community would come together to share The Tempest,Shakespeare’s meditation on the torturous violence of usurpation, the wrenching betrayal of brothers, and the pain and release of forgiveness. However, CSC’s first priority is the health and safety of our staff, artists, and the community; and despite the generally positive public health trends, it’s become clear that there is no path forward to produce an event this summer on the scale of Shakespeare on the Common.
Deep in my heart, I feel the urgent need for communion, I long for the healing balm of togetherness, and I ache with the innate human need to share stories. Art, literature, and community have never felt more necessary, so we will not fall silent. Our team is committed to using this summer to advance CSC’s mission of celebrating ideas and language that invite civic dialogue, eliminating barriers to bring theater to diverse audiences, and inspiring young artists and audiences. Though I sharply feel the loss of the summer we were planning, I see it as a pause – one that hopefully allows a deeper, richer production next summer and a chance for us to redirect our energies to areas of greatest need and opportunity.”
As announced in March, production staff and artists engaged for the production will be paid this summer despite the postponement. In lieu of presenting The Tempest on the Boston Common this July, the team is developing a host of other activities and programming. The team is exploring performing pop-up live and online performances, developing educational materials for The Tempest and CSC’s Stage2 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream(rescheduled to spring 2021), and deepening CSC’s commitment to racial equity in all aspects of its work. The company will also support CSC’s annual Apprentice Program which has moved to a virtual format this summer. Now in its eleventh year, CSC’s Apprentice Program brings together pre-professional actors from across the country for Shakespeare training and professional development opportunities. This year an unprecedented forty students will engage in training on Shakespeare’s text and voice, as well as masterclasses with local and nationally renowned artists from CSC’s past productions. The online training will culminate in public virtual presentations of scenes and monologues.
Further information will be announced in the near future as plans develop.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), best known for its annual free performances on Boston Common, is a non-profit theater organization founded in 1996, dedicated to artistic excellence, accessibility, and education. CSC’s Free Shakespeare on the Common has served over one million audience members over its 24-year history and has become a beloved summer tradition enjoyed by over 50,000 people annually. CSC also presents fully staged productions including past productions of the world premiere of Our American Hamlet, Beckett in Brief, Death and the Maiden, Old Money, CarylChurchill’s Blue Kettle andHere We Go,and Naomi Wallace’s adaptation of William Wharton’s novel Birdy. Most recently CSC has created in partnership with Google a Virtual Reality (VR) experience of William Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet, entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, released in partnership with Boston public media producer WGBH, it can be viewed exclusively on the WGBH YouTube channel. The video has been shown at multiple venues and educational institutions in the US and abroad. CSC also produces an annual “Theatre in the Rough,” semi-staged readings including 2017’s Fear and Misery in the Third Reichfeaturing Tony Shalhoub and Brooke Adams. CSC fulfills its educational mission with actor-training programs for pre-professional and professional actors through the summer Apprentice program and CSC2, as well as its Stage2 performance series for middle and high school audiences. To learn more, visit commshakes.org or call 617-426-0863.