A drum, a drum, annouces new on-goings at NCShakes

by Lenise Willis

Productions expand beyond theater and into classroom


Last Thursday, the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival appropriately invaded the stone castle at Jamestown’s Castle McCulloch to announce its 36th season, which will include a familiar medieval tragedy, as well as a year-round educational program that will help teachers fulfill a new common-core standard.

At the season announcement, the theatre recounted a few of their successes, including an increase in funding, as well as an extension of Shakespeare To Go, an educational program which will now run year-round for the first time.

Running for just two years, the program has toured North Carolina schools, libraries and community centers during the spring, delivering Shakespeare performances to about 20,000 students per year.

“The new state common-core education standards that require teaching Shakespeare in every high school grade went into effect this school year,” said Wil Elder, NCShakes president and CEO. “So now Shakespeare To Go, an already highly regarded program, is more critical than ever.

“Every day NCShakes fields phone calls and e-mails from educators who are hungry for the tools they need to bring Shakespeare to life for their students. Thanks to the visionary support of our sponsors, our teaching artists can double the number of students, educators and communities served each year.”

The 2013-14 Shakespeare To Go tour will present adaptations of A Comedy of Errors and Hamlet appropriate for grades 3 through 12.

Elder said that, due to new corporate sponsorships and dramatically increased demand, the popular Shakespeare To Go program will operate a fall season for the first time.

The program’s new sponsors for 2013-14 are Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated in Charlotte; Bandwidth.Com, an internet and phone-service provider based in Cary; and the Raleigh office of Kilpatrick Townsend.

Shakespeare To Go will also continue to receive support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the High Point Community Foundation, the Lincoln Financial Foundation and Glaxo Smith Kline. Local arts councils and community foundations also sponsor individual performances in their areas.

The tour has already been to schools in Greensboro this week, Monday through Wednesday, and is scheduled to perform in the area again next Friday.

Additionally, NCShakes’ Outreach and Education division will introduce a free summer youth theatre for students ages 13-18.

Also at the announcement, cast members of the theater’s Shakespeare To Go program proclaimed, “a drum, a drum, MacBeth doth come,” during a revealing preview of the theatre’s upcoming fall production, MacBeth, which will run Sept. 9-26. The play will be directed by Steve Umberger, who previously helmed last season’s Romeo and Juliet.

In other news, Tickets for Macbeth go on sale in July at the High Point Theatre Box Office and Auditions for the youth theater production of Dracula will be held June 29, and the performances are Aug. 1-2 at NCShakes’ Spirit Center headquarters in High Point.

NCShakes’ SummerStage program of camps and workshops was expanded to include children as young as five years old.

The company’s traditional production of A Christmas Carol will run Dec. 4-22. The production, directed by Artistic and Managing Director Pedro Silva, features original and traditional music arranged by David Bishop and a cast made up of both professional and Triad-area actors.

Community auditions for A Christmas Carol are typically held in October. All auditions will be announced publicly and posted at

For more information about the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, call 336.841.2273 or visit