Shakespeare on the Concho is a partnership between Be Theatre and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts bringing free outdoor performances of the works of William Shakespeare to San Angelo.
SHAKESPEARE ON THE CONCHO
Bottom Right: Kristin Schwarz
Much Ado About Nothing
HOW WE BROUGHT IT TO LIFE
Around 2011-12 Jon Mark Hogg, a long time Shakespeare enthusiast, started talking to local arts supporters in the community about bringing free outdoor Shakespeare to San Angelo. The idea was embraced, but not fully, as the amount of time, money and perseverance seemed daunting to many. After all, a full cast of adult and older teen actors who could portray the characters was difficult to find during the summer. Add to it the cost of space, props, marketing... it would take a specific group to help cultivate this project and make it happen.
Jon Mark didn't give up. Shakespeare was just too good to pass up. Fast forward a few years to 2014.
Finding the right fit to produce was still very much on the forefront as Jon Mark continued to talk to art lovers. Enter Marcus Osborn and Be Theatre. Jon Mark and Marcus (our resident technical director) shared a passion for The Bard. Be Theatre immediately took an interest and began to plan the first performance, The Comedy of Errors. But where could we perform? What would be a great location for community outreach? We knew it needed to be three things for sure:
3) Held somewhere in the city that was familiar and recognizable
This is where our friend, Howard Taylor along and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, enters the story. Mr. Taylor, Executive Director of the museum, not only said "Yes!" when we asked if we could perform on their lawn, he also said, "What can we do to help?" To say the museum has been helpful is an understatement. They have truly been a partner with Be Theatre in every sense of the word. In addition to donating their beautiful outdoor lawn to produce the show, they also provide a place to call home during our rehearsals/show, advertise on our behalf and graciously host an annual opening night rooft-top reception. In addition, the museum has continued to plan family days to promote the experience. Bekah Baxter, Curator of Education, is the creative superstar and force behind the annual "Family Day Shakespeare," a jam-packed one-day family experience held inside the museum that is free for everyone who attends.
WHY DO WE DO IT?
The idea behind Shakespeare on the Concho is that William Shakespeare was an entertainer. So, if his plays are boring or do not entertain there is really no sense in performing them. Of course, people cannot be entertained if they do not understand. So, all performances are from adapted scripts, edited both for language and occasional content. Our desire is to make Shakespeare accessible for the ordinary West Texan. No Elizabethan costumes are used the actors are only a few feet away and sometimes they may be right in among you.
Performances are in June each year. Bring a chair, your family and a picnic and cooler to the south lawn of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy one of our performances. There is no cost for admission and no reservations are needed. The shows take place in a very casual atmosphere that brings the works of Shakespeare to life in a fun and interactive setting.
SUMMER 2017 SHOW: AS YOU LIKE IT (Click for dates and more info!)
"TO BE OR NOT TO BE"
We are not the first theatre to produce Shakespeare, as that was sometime during the late 16th century. And thank goodness we will not be the last. We are proud to be working with the Museum annually to bring 2 weekends of free performances to our community during the summer.
The wonderful thing about Shakespearian theatre, which has been around for almost 550 years, is that anyone can produce it. Which means San Angelo will continue to have opportunities to see performances at many theatres and even local private and public schools for many years to come.
(Artist: Mathew McFarren)