The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (AST) has been bringing professional-level Shakespeare productions and musicals to Central Arkansas as the only professional Shakespeare theater company in Arkansas since its first festival in 2007. This year is no different with full productions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a family friendly production of As You Like It, and a musical production of Fiddler on the Roof.
The performances take place in a few different places around Conway and Little Rock, with some shows even being performed in Bentonville and El Dorado, both indoors and out. You can check out the full schedule and play details over at the AST website.
After hosting an AST production of A Comedy of Errors last year, it was clear to us at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute how much enthusiasm there is for performing arts in the state. One of the wonderful things about AST is that it gives Arkansans a chance to experience professional theater from both sides of the curtain. Just as there are shows in their schedule that fit different budgets and tastes, there are many positions available within AST that attract student interns from local colleges and universities and Broadway and off-Broadway talent alike. All of that enthusiasm and talent is why we are thrilled to host a performance of As You Like It on June 20 here at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. We’re looking forward to another great crowd.
Speaking of As You Like It, did you know that it is one of 18 plays that we wouldn’t have today if not for the First Folio? The First Folio is the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays, put together after his death by two of his fellow actors. If you catch As You Like It here or at the other venues in the state, and you would like a chance to see the book that made it possible, AST and the University of Central Arkansas will be host to a touring First Folio exhibit in 2016 featuring an original copy of the important collection.
As you can see, there are a lot of options for you to enjoy this summer. We hope you’ll get out there and take in one of the great performances happening around the state; we’ll be sure to save you a seat here on Petit Jean.