HELENA — A free theater company is traveling Montana and beyond this summer, bringing Shakespeare to places and people that may not have easy access to the theater.
“The goal is to be able to bring live performance directly into the backyards of our amazing communities and to provide access to live professional theater when they might not have it available directly in their town or within their reach, their immediate reach,” says Kevin Asselin, The Executive Artistic Director at Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is an outreach program of Montana State University. Every summer for the past 50 years, they gather performing artists from throughout the United States to travel and perform Shakespearean plays. This year the plays are 12th Night and King Lear, but with a bit of a twist. For example, the group’s rendition of King Lear this year is set in 1888 Montana.
The group will travel mainly in Montana but has stops in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota. The group finds that the messages of Shakespeare can still be relevant and impactful for anyone and everyone in our modern day and age.
“We're talking about questions of gender. We're talking about questions related to the family dynamic and structure, social-economic situations which are really, really relevant in Shakespeare's plays, the idea of nature, the influence of nature which, of course, for all of us out here in Montana is a really important thing that we focus on . . . What the playwright created was an undertone of relevant themes that have existed throughout every century since the plays were written,” says Asselin.
You can follow this link for a full list of the group’s performances: https://shakespeareintheparks.org/season/full-schedule