In an ambitious collaboration announced today, the AT&T Performing Arts Center and Shakespeare Dallas will stage all of William Shakespeare’s works over the next five years. The effort recalls the famous, highly uneven BBC Shakespeare series of the mid-to-late 1980s as well as Joseph Papp’s similar commitment at New York’s Public Theatre.
BUT — unlike either of those projects, which involved fully-staged productions as well as TV broadcasts — the ‘Complete Shakespeare Dallas/AT&T PAC series’ will be monthly staged readings in Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House. These will begin September 23-24 with Much Ado About Nothing and will include eight different readings per year for some 200 theatergoers. They will involve simple props, lighting and costumes but no sets (the Hamon is more rehearsal hall than stage). The intention is to “keep the focus on the poetry and the brilliance of the text.”
Not full stagings, then, but the aim is to present absolutely everything — Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets, and presumably the longer poems as well (The Rape of Lucrece, Venus and Adonis, etc.) — though not, apparently, in chronological order (which, after all, is the source of much scholarly dispute). Speaking of disputes, there’s no word on whether the selection will include any of the ‘disputed’ or collaborative works such as The Birth of Merlin or Sir Thomas More, for which Shakespeare almost certainly wrote a three-page scene.
The full release follows:
SHAKESPEARE’S COMPLETE WORKS TO BE PERFORMED
Five-Year Collaboration Between AT&T Performing Arts Center and Shakespeare Dallas
(DALLAS) The AT&T Performing Arts Center today announced a new artistic collaboration that over the next five years will present all of William Shakespeare’s work. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare will include all his plays and sonnets and be produced and directed by Shakespeare Dallas, under the leadership of Executive and Artistic Director Raphael Parry. The performances are made possible through the generosity of the Mankoff Family Foundation.
“Shakespeare’s timeless work connects with diverse audiences on every level, and now all of these works will be presented in one place in the span of a few years,” said Doug Curtis, acting president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “This is exactly the kind of creative, even ambitious programming Dallas expects this Center to present.”
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare will be presented in monthly staged readings in Nancy B. Hamon Hall in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. Over the course of the five years (eight readings per year in September, October, November, January, February, March, April and May), local and regional actors and directors will bring to life all of the Bard’s words, verses and prose.
“We, obviously, have a passion for Shakespeare and his entire catalogue of work,” said Shakespeare Dallas’ Raphael Parry. “This unique partnership really allows us to utilize our decades of experience in order to share all of this, including his lesser known works, with Dallas audiences.”
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare will utilize a staged reading format with simple props, lighting and costumes to keep the focus on the poetry and brilliance of the text. The performances will take place on Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings, encouraging participation by a wide range of Dallas’ theatrical artists and audiences alike.
“With 41 years of experience with the Bard, Shakespeare Dallas understands what it takes to get it right,” said the Center’s Doug Curtis. “That is why we’ve entrusted them with this, and thanks to the inspired vision of the Mankoff Family Foundation, this is a tremendous collaborative fit.”
Curtis promises even more creative programming announcements are ahead for the Center, which is just about to begin its fourth year of operations.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare will have a limited capacity of 200 seats per performance, and a complete schedule with ticketing and pricing information will be available later this month.
2012-2013 Season Schedule (subject to change)
September 23 and 24 Much Ado About Nothing
October 14 and 15 Othello
November 25 and 26 The Taming of the Shrew
January 13 and 14 The Winter’s Tale
February 17 and 18 Henry VI Part 1
March 10 and 11 Henry VI Part 2
April 14 and 15 Henry VI Part 3
May 19 and 20 Richard III