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Delaware Shakespeare Festival to expand programming in new year

The Delaware Shakespeare Festival at Rockwood Park

The Delaware Shakespeare Festival will launch a major new initiative in 2016.

In November, the arts organization will traverse the state on the Delaware Shakespeare Community Tour. The three week outing will find the company performing The Bard’s “Pericles” at homeless shelters, detention facilities and community centers. 

David Stradley, the artistic director for the Delaware Shakespeare Festival says it's all about going to places where people have limited access to the arts.

“Shakespeare wrote about characters living at the extremes of their lives,” he says. “For some of these audiences we’ll be going to, like for a woman in a homeless shelter or a youth at the Ferris School; they are at extreme moments in their lives. Their reactions and what they find in these plays will help us rediscover these plays and find out what’s vital and true in them.”

The project is based on a performance model by a Minneapolis theater company which brings the arts to underserved audiences.

DSF's new community tour is based on a model by Ten Thousand Things in Minneapolis

Stradley adds the tour will also include four public performances and will be free of charge.

“So we’re very thrilled that the Longwood Foundation for the first time in our history as an organization has supported us with a $95,000 challenge grant,” he says. “We still need to raise $49,000 to support the rest of the expenses of the tour and to meet the requirements of the grant but we’re actually already fifty percent of the way there.”

Other DSF programming next year will include the seasonal production of Shakespeare & St. Valentine and a spring collaboration with Opera Delaware.

The company’s annual summer Shakespeare production at Wilmington’s Rockwood Park will be “The Comedy of Errors,” scheduled to run July 15-31, 2016.

This piece is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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