EAST MEREDITH) On Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, the West Kortright Centre will present its 31st Annual Shakespeare in the Valley weekend.These back to back performances are the culmination of The Centre’s Young People’s Theater Arts Workshops (YPTAW)— a long-standing theater program for teens that cycles through Shakespeare’s repertoire. For more three decades, these recurring workshops have played an important role throughout the formative years of many of its participants, developing self-confidence and lasting friendships among young people from a wide-range of backgrounds. Several YPTAW alumni are currently pursuing active theater or film careers., and many have children who are now West Kortright Centre workshop participants. This year’s YPTAW Workshops and Shakespeare in the Valley are co-sponsored by Clark Companies and NYCM Insurance, with support from the Robert B. and Addie P. Thomson Trust and Anna L. Mabey Foundation, and T-shirts sponsored by OneGroup/Gordon B. Roberts Agency and Community Bank, N.A.
Both evenings begin at 6 PM with an indoor production of “Nothing To Do About Everything” (rain or shine). This original production highlights the era of classic radio, along with black and white film and television, including such characters as Abbott & Costello, the Marx Brothers, and the Andrews Sisters. The play is performed by the Introduction to Acting Workshop cast of 9–12 year-olds, taught by YPTAW alumnae Vanessa Van Burek and Sarah-Doe Osborne. Following this show, there will be a picnic dinner (bring your own, or purchase hot dogs and veggie burgers on-site).
At 8 PM, the lights go up on a fully staged outdoor performance of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by YPTAW alumna Lillian Meredith, starring the teenage Shakespeare workshop participants: Alison Copperwheat, Demetri Jaromack, Mary Wenner, Lucia Marsiglio, Zara Zeidman, Nini Kauffman-O'Hehir, Lucie Parker, Sacha Franjola, Grace Connell, Susan Gielskie, Alexandra Pace Goldstein, Rosa Henderson, Leo Besen, Emily Orr, Luther Gennert, Layla Maloney-Yodlowsky, and Eike Pfeiffer. The production features original music by Stephen Bennett.
Lillian Meredith is a New York-based theater artist focused on creating and developing new and site-responsive plays. Recent credits include Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience, Ars Nova, Culture Project, Dixon Place, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, UglyRhino, The Secret Theatre, Galapagos Art Space, and The FURY Factory Festival of Ensemble Theater. Lillian is the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Motor Company (Communal Spaces and Intimate Bar Plays) and a founding member of The Living Room. She is also a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and the inaugural Clubbed Thumb Director’s Fellowship. Lillian is a proud alumna of Vassar College, National Theater Institute, and, of course, the West Kortright Centre.
Participants of the Costume Design class, taught by YPTAW aluma Vera Powley, are responsible for design, costume production, and backstage dressing. The technical aspects of the show–lights, sound and set–are designed and run by instructor Tony Aukstikalnis and the Technical Theater workshop students.
Audience members are advised to bring their own lawn seating, plus layers for the coolness of the evening. In case of a light drizzle, the show will go on—in which case, umbrellas are recommended. The heavy-rain date for the Shakespeare production is Sunday, August 5 at 8 PM. Tickets are $12 per evening; $5 for children 2-11; free for children under 2.
The West Kortright Centre is located midway between Oneonta, Delhi, and Stamford. Follow signs from state Route 23 in Davenport Center or state Route 10 east of Delhi. For more information and exact travel directions, visit www.westkc.org