The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s 2012 Company will arrive in Conway on Sunday, May 13.
AST, Arkansas’s only professional Shakespeare Festival, will kick off its sixth season with Twelfth Night on June 7 at The Village at Hendrix College in Conway, with subsequent performances on June 9, 10 and 15. Twelfth Night will be produced at WildwoodPark for the Arts in Little Rock on June 22, 23 and 24.
“It is so exciting to be returning to The Village at Hendrix for outdoor performances of Twelfth Night, and this year we are adding performances of Twelfth Night at Wildwood Park for the Arts,” said MaryRuth Marotte, president of the AST board. “Certainly these Shakespeare inthe Park experiences will be fun for everyone, young and old.”
AST’s other productions this summer are Richard III, Big Riverand a children’s version of The Tempest, all produced in Reynolds PerformanceHall on the University of Central Arkansascampus.
Nisi Sturgis, a Conwaynative, will be playing two of the leads this summer — Viola inTwelfth Night and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III. Sturgis grew up in Conway and graduated fromUCA. She has played prominent roles in Shakespeare festivals all across thecountry and has a recurring role in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”. DanMatisa, a crowd favorite who has played major roles in AST’s festival everyyear, will return to play Richard in Richard III and Pap in Big River.
“I’m particularly excited about the company of actors wehave assembled for this season,” said Rebekah Scallet, producing artisticdirector for AST. “We have fantastic local performers as well as talentedactors coming in from across the country, including New York and Chicago.
“On a personal note, it’s also very special to be able to workwith Nisi Sturgis, who in addition to being an amazing and accomplishedperformer is also an old friend from Arkansas Governor’s School. It’s great tobe able to share my first summer with AST with Nisi.”
AST will also host “Free Drinks and Fun with AST,” agathering with select actors and directors of the 2012 summer season on Monday,May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the new Oxford American offices on South Main Street inLittle Rock (formerly Juanita’s). Those attending may join the actors for aglass of wine or beer, then stay for a panel discussion with Scallet, duringwhich she and her cast from “Twelfth Night” will discuss their visionfor this season’s comedy. The event is free and open to the public.