Teenage actors help CSF company complete the Shakespeare canon twice
Not many professional Shakespeare festivals can say they’ve mounted a production of every Shakespeare play … twice.
Even fewer can say they achieved this monumental feat with the help of a cast of teenage actors.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 60th season concludes this week with a rare, major milestone under its belt. With two performances of “Henry VI, Part 3,” it officially completed the Shakespeare canon twice.
But sticklers for accuracy might claim they forgot to count “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” a little-known work Shakespeare co-wrote with John Fletcher. CSF performed a staged reading of “Kinsmen” back in 1975, but they’ve yet to do it a second time.
That’s where the teenagers come in.
This week, “The Two Noble Kinsmen” will be performed one night only in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre by the festival’s next generation. Teenagers enrolled in CSF’s three-week Camp Shakespeare will perform the Shakespeare/Fletcher collaboration in an abridged performance on Friday, Aug. 11 at 7:30pm.
The production is directed by CSF company member Sean Scrutchins, who plays Guildenstern in CSF’s “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” Two more CSF company members, Ayla Sullivan and Ian Fraser, both BFA students in CU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, have been assisting Scrutchins in rehearsal, and Fraser will also perform a few small roles in the teen production.
“Our education programs are vital to our work at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival,” says Amanda Giguere, CSF’s Director of Outreach. “When a young person encounters Shakespeare in live performance, it opens up new possibilities about these 400-year-old plays.”
In addition to the CSF summer camps, the company offers a touring Shakespeare & Violence Prevention program for Colorado schools, after-school classes, and an elementary school performance festival each May.
“I am so proud of the young people we get to work with,” Giguere says, “and it is only fitting that they are the ones to officially complete the second canon for CSF.”