It is said that over 90 Shakespeare in the Park venues exist in the US but there has never been one in Arkansas until now. And what better place to do it than the European ambiance of Eureka Springs!
Its inaugural performance was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the Basin park in downtown Eureka in July of 2009. Since then it has been realized that a more permanent spot was needed and the dream was on.
On November 30, 2009, the Shakespeare in the Ozarks stage located in Harmon Park (just a short walk from the Bridgeford House) was officially dedicated. Located in the amphitheater where the old Summer Auditorium stood before it was demolished sometime around the time of the Great Depression, the new stage returns Harmon Park to its roots as an outdoor community gathering place for the performing arts.
The plan is to open Shakespeare in the Ozarks May, 2010, to coincide with Eureka’s May Festival of the Arts, with a production of Shakespeare’s first play, The Comedy of Errors. The production will celebrate Eureka Springs by transposing the action (keeping the story and language intact) to this city in its hey day, say about 1900. The play is expected to be performed three times a week, late afternoons Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In time a permanent stage house will be built with seating and lighting for night time performances. The intention is to do one play the first year, (Comedy of Errors) and two the next year, Comedy of Errors and perhaps Taming of the Shrew, played on the same set. By the third year it is expected the plays will be performed at night, and hope to add one of the romances (maybe Tempest, Cymbeline, Winter’s Tale or Pericles) in addition to the comedies.
The scope of the project is limited only by the funding that can be raised but there is nothing like this anywhere else in the region and the hope is to draw Shakespeare lovers from surrounding states, for these highly professional and enjoyable performances.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
Shakespeare, As You Like It
We hope to see you here.
Jeff and Nadara (Sam) – and Sophie, too!