To be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center’s Bartow Amphitheater, the first offering will be presented June 8 at 7 p.m. With its theme titled “Love,” the production will feature scenes from various Shakespeare plays, including “Twelfth Night,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Hamlet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “King Lear.”
“We had been in talks with the Clarence Brown Conference Center about the fact that they wanted to bring something else to the amphitheater,” said Morgan Brooks, artistic director for StageWorks. “And we knew that our two Shakespeare shows that we did a couple of years ago went over very well. We had good attendance at those and people seemed to really enjoy the atmosphere. So we were in talks with them about doing a summer series but we also knew that practically it was not going to be possible to mount three full-scale plays back to back to back.
“So we decided that we would do kind of a Shakespeare greatest hits approach and that way it allows people who may be a little bit intimidated by the idea of going to see Shakespeare or even audition for it … to experience it on a slightly less intimidating level. We have a narrator who is kind of guiding everybody through the scenes. He’ll give a little bit of an [introduction] to what’s going on. We’re hoping that it might inspire some interest in people and we may want them to come participate more, whether they audition or they come back and see another show.”
Along with serving as StageWorks’ artistic director, Brooks also is coordinating the Second Saturday Shakespeare series and portrays Juliet and Cordelia in the first production.
“Suzanne [Husting] has done a great job of directing this production,” Brooks said. “We knew that she was the one that we wanted to do this one because it’s right up her alley. She’s made it fun for [the cast] to participate in it. It’s not all overly melodramatic, tragic ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love that we kind of associate with Shakespeare.
“It’s really been fun to be a part of these scenes and to watch the other cast members enjoy themselves as much as they do. And that makes me feel good because I know that if we’re having fun doing it then the audience is going to have fun watching it.”
Along with Brooks, the June 8 production’s cast will feature Kip Henderson, Robert Trammell, Tony Bowers, Mallory Holder, Meghann Humphreys, Ron Connell and Mike Davis.
While the June performance will center on love, the July 13 and Aug. 10 productions’ themes will be “Heroes and Villains,” and “Comedy,” respectively. All shows will begin at 7 p.m.
“[The amphitheater] is a good venue, and it’s outdoors, which we love because a lot of Shakespeare is performed outdoors,” said Leslie McCrary, co-founder of StageWorks. “It’s a challenge because it’s outdoors. We’re a victim of the weather [but] so far everything’s been fine. We have limited costumes. Because it’s June, July and August, we don’t want to go with the heavy velvet brocades, and we sort of work with that and make the costumes representative of the plays.
“But it’s a good venue. People can bring their stadium seats or blankets or cushions and lawn chairs, and they can bring snacks and drinks. And there are going to be things available, concessions, that the Clarence Brown [Conference Center] is providing.”
Tickets for the upcoming shows will be $10 for general admission and free for children younger than 12. For more information, call the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 State Route 20 in Cartersville, at 770-606-5763.