Shakespeare on the Road » Notes from the Road celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on a road trip to 14 Shakespeare festivals all around North America in one remarkable summer Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:10:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Interview with Robert Marigza, Operations Manager Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:07:00 +0000 Robert has worked for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival for many years and is passionate abut what he does.

In this extract from our interview he talks about how the festival creates its magic, involves its audiences and reflects the values of Nashville itself.

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Two interviews from the Royal Box Sat, 30 Aug 2014 23:20:39 +0000 For the second performance of the Bluegrass As You Like It in Centennial Park we had the pleasure of sitting in the Royal Box – a small, covered area of raked seating to one side of the stage. We were in exceptional company.

Not only did we meet former Executive Director of the festival, Tony Mcalister, and his wife, but I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Ann Jennalie Cook, professor emerita of Vanderbilt University and Life Trustee of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and her husband Jerry Calhoun. Ann treated us to some of her delicious peach ice-cream, and we even managed to give some to Celia between scenes in the second half…

The Rosalind that Ann justly praises was played by Emily Landham.

And the very distinctive music she mentions was composed especially for the production by the famous Country music writer, David Olney.

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Interview with the Mayor of Nashville Sat, 30 Aug 2014 18:24:59 +0000 We knew it was going wonderful, but our time in Nashville surpassed our expectations. Not only did we see a splendid Bluegrass As You Like It (which seemed to burst off the stage in true Nashvillian fashion) but we were also taken on a special tour of the city last Monday. One of the highlights was being taken to the City Hall to meet Mayor Karl Dean, a keen supporter of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival…

And in true Shakespeare On the Road style, we took some photographs of Shakespeare’s Birthplace in front of two Nashville cityscapes. The first is in front of a photograph of an area of land regenerated during Karl Dean’s time as Mayor.


The second shows the Birthplace with the Congress building as the backdrop.


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Interview with Debra Charlton before the Bluegrass ‘As You Like It’ Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:47:55 +0000 The Shakespeare world is really quite small. I was bowled over and totally delighted to see my old and dear friend Debra Charlton at the splendid As You Like It presented by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival the other night. Debra has brought many an undergraduate group on short courses to The Shakespeare Centre and is now the Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Rep, South Carolina.

You’ll be able to hear the warm-up music in the background during this interview with her that I managed to capturer before the show. It was great to hear her mention our dear friend Jane Lapotaire who has taught many a masterclass to Debra’s students and colleagues over the years.

I asked her if it is possible to talk about an American tradition of Shakespeare acting…

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for Antoni Cimolino, Anita Gaffney, Andrea Gammon, David Prosser, Pat Quigley, and all who love this remarkable place. Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:47:02 +0000 ‘Stratford Festival, Ontario, 2014′

Step inside this world-embracing tent,
Where all is seen and no word goes to waste;
The town, their guests, the swans turn up to taste
This national treasure, all it means, has meant.
Here Shakespeares old and new can intertwine:
Jack shall have Jack and Jill shall have her Jill
(My most exuberant Midsummer thrill
Since Stratford, England, nineteen eighty-nine).
Those understated stars cast on the street,
Remind us of the care we need to take
With stories, and the difference they can make,
Enhancing lives, like those who bless our feet.
Though love is more important here than fame,
No stage is loved as much, or quite the same.

by Paul Edmondson

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Interview with Pat Quigley, Director of Education at the Stratford Festival for 30 years Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:08:01 +0000 Pat Quigley was Director of Education for the Stratford Festival for thirty years and has been called out of retirement to cover a colleague who is away on maternity leave.

In this extract from our interview with her she describes what is distinctive about the festival, its classical approach to the texts (she cites Artistic Director’s Antoni Cimolino’s current production of The Beaux Stratagem as an example of this). She describes the festival’s approach to its educational work, the moving collegiality across the different education teams in North American festivals, and the deep connection which the Stratford Festival has with its town.

We were all of us bowled over by the breadth festival’s public educational work, its Forum, and it was great to listen to Pat explain how it all started and what makes it flourish as it does. But she also talks about the power of education to heal as well as to change.

There are three interviewers (in order of appearance): Paul Edmondson, Paul Prescott, and A.J. Leon.

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A Rondell for Tina Packer and all who love Shakespeare and Company Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:05:18 +0000 This Rose trips softly through our deepest night,
Whispering her truths from Shakespeare’s day;
Our voices and our bodies find a way
To move the echoing sky, and to excite

This house of mirth, to argue, play and fight
On stages that can heal, restore, and pray;
This Rose is longing with us through the night,
Caressing us with truth from Shakespeare’s day;

She asks ‘How should we act?’ and take delight
In what life means, works with us so we may
Connect our hearts’ desire with what we say,

And influence community for right;
Our Rose sings of adventure through the night,
New England truths, still bright, from Shakespeare’s day.

by Paul Edmondson

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Interview with Laura Pogson Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:57:46 +0000 20140822_171022

Laura Pogson recalls how her parents had ‘theatre guests’ staying in their home in the early days of the Festival. Her brothers were ushers and allowed her to sneak into the tent for the opening night and she remembers sitting on the steps as Alec Guinness stepped forward to speak ‘Now is the winter of our discontent.’

In recalling the early days of the Festival, she remembers Tyrone Guthrie’s words of advice, hearing something memorable about Glenn Gould, and the original tent being literally torn to pieces…


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Interview with Anita Gaffney, Executive Director Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:25:41 +0000 Anita Gaffney is the Executive Director of the Stratford Festival. She was born and raised there; she recalls selling popcorn there as a student; then she studied English and did an MBA. Her dreams of working at the Festival full-time finally came to pass.

But it’s a dream which is also rooted in her family background…

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Interview with veteran actor, Stephen Russell Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:04:07 +0000 And so we made our excursion into Canada….

One of the many beautiful and distinctive things about the Stratford Festival, Ontario, is the way many of the actors return season after season.

We were introduced to Stephen Russell who has worked there for more than 40 years, over 34 seasons. He spoke to us about how it all started, how the Festival has changed over time, and what he values most about working there.

His roles this year include the Soothsayer in Antony and Cleopatra, so we asked him for his favourite line and what it means to him:

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