Arts & Leisure

Five British actors perform Shakespeare in Midd

Actors From The London Stage will perform Shakespeare’s classic romance “Much Ado About Nothing” on March 3-5 at Wright Theatre. Photo / Robin Savage

The Middlebury Performing Arts Series presents Actors From The London Stage, one of the most historied Shakespeare theatre companies in the world, in three public performances of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” March 3-5. The Bard’s comedic masterpiece explores two wildly different romances, each wrapped in secrets and trickery. In this inventive production, five actors perform all the roles, with only a few simple props and costume pieces. Shakespeare newcomers and scholars alike will delight in this classic play, ushered nimbly into the present day.

This live, in-person event is open to audiences from both on- and off-campus. Vaccinations and boosters (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and masks are required.

About the Artists

Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) was founded in 1975 at the University of California, Santa Barbara by Professor Homer “Murph” Swander and the renowned stage and screen actor Sir Patrick Stewart, best known as Captain Picard on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Professor Xavier in the X-Men film franchise.

The AFTLS company ethos and mission is simplicity at its finest. Five actors take the stage, with minimal props and costumes, and direct themselves in a performance of a complete Shakespeare play, with each actor portraying multiple roles.

But the performance is only part of the experience. The company tours to colleges and universities across the U.S. twice a year, with each tour organized and administered by Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Each company of five actors leads classes and workshops throughout the residency week. Middlebury’s residency includes more than a dozen classes in five different departments, plus a master class at Town Hall Theater for actors from the community.

The goal: to interpret Shakespeare’s text as a blueprint for performance, lifting the words off the page as Shakespeare originally intended.

“Actors have a personal connection with dramatic texts, which is distinctive and different from the scholars. Our program gives the actor a unique platform from which to explore with professors and students what he or she does and why it is done,” explained founding director Sir Patrick Stewart.

Catch Actors From The London Stage performing “Much Ado About Nothing” at Middlebury College’s Wright Memorial Theatre March 3-5, at 7:30 p.m. Each performance will be followed by a short talkback with the actors. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Middlebury faculty/staff and alumni, $10 for youth, and $5 for Middlebury College students. Vaccinations and boosters (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and masks are required. Wright Theatre is located at 96 Chateau Road in Middlebury, just off Route 125. For tickets, health and safety protocols, and information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or visit middlebury.edu/arts.

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