PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theater in residence in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences, has always had a long relationship with the works of William Shakespeare, and bringing them to the University and local communities.
This year, in addition to producing Twelfth Night as part of their main-stage season, PlayMakers also brought Measure for Measure to the local community through their inaugural Mobile Shakespeare unit.
Reaching across many communities is central to the work of PlayMakers, says Vivienne Benesch, the producing artistic director. “It’s incredibly important to me that we not only produce here on our professional stage at the highest level, but equally important that we go out in a barebones way and reach people who wouldn’t otherwise come to the theater or have been intimidated by Shakespeare.”
In addition to Mobile Shakespeare, PlayMakers also reaches new audiences through the National Endowment for the Arts’ Shakespeare for a New Generation grant. The grant allows the company to send teaching artists to North Carolina schools to study the play before bringing the students to a free matinee with a post-show discussion.
Tristan Parks, a graduate student in the Professional Actors Training Program, performed in Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night. “Art does come from the people. It’s only appropriate that we give it back to them.”
Twelfth Night will run at the Paul Green Theatre until March 19.
Story and video by Kristen Chavez ’13