A scene from the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival's Wilde Award-winning production of King Lear.
After winning two Wilde Awards in 2018, including the top prize—Best of the Bard—the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival returns for its 12th season, featuring Shakespeare’s diabolical Richard III, to be performed on June 28 and 29, as well as July 5 and 6, and Eleanor Burgess’ challenging and incendiary drama The Niceties to be presented on July 1, 2, and 3.
Over its 12-year history, the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival has received multiple awards and significant recognition, including being hailed for featuring the best Shakespearian performances in the state.
“Northern Michigan audiences have a unique opportunity to experience high-caliber Shakespeare and cutting-edge contemporary work right here in their own backyard,” says Bill Church, Director of Theatre at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Richard III will be staged in Upton-Morely Pavillion, an open-air outdoor venue on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, which showcases Michigan’s natural beauty and transports the audience into the Shakespearian imagination.
“Richard III is one of Shakespeare's best known plays,” Church said. “ Audiences can expect a deliciously intense ride as they follow Richard’s ruthless, sociopathic pursuit of power.”
Bill Church will direct a cast of Interlochen faculty, both current and retired, with alumni from Los Angeles and New York in Richard III. Interlochen Arts Academy alumna and Brooklyn-based director Krista Williams will direct The Niceties, featuring Broadway verteran and Interlochen Arts Academy Theatre faculty Christine Marie Brown with Interlochen Arts Academy alumna Shavonna Banks.
“The Niceties is a crackling new drama that challenges us to consider history in a different context,” continues Church. “Who owns history? Through which lens should we view the past? Audiences can expect a thought-provoking evening of theatre.”
Church feels The Niceties is a perfect compliment to Shakespeare’s Richard III.
“Every year we look to balance our classical offering with a new work from an up-and-coming American playwright. Richard III is the first history play that the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival has presented, and pairing it with a contemporary work that questions different perceptions on history seemed both relevant and exciting.”