Thursday, April 24th, 2014

History

Spring of 1999History

  • Becky Kemper and Steven Hoochuk found The Shakespeare Project, incorporating it as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization and  starting state wide programming
  • The company welcomes Becky Kemper as its first Chief Operating Officer and Producing Artistic Director
  • The free Scholars in Arts Discussion Series receives funding from the Maryland Humanities Council.
  • A High School Intern Company is created in conjunction with the professional company and presents its first performance at the Festival of the Arts.
  • Professional actors present a “Mini Performance” at the Festival of the Arts.

1999-2000

  • The company gets its educational programs well underway by doing two-day workshops in every high school in Frederick County.
  • Much Ado About Nothing performs for almost 3,000 people in 3 tour stops.

2000-2001

  • A free Monday Night Reading Series begins at Frederick Coffee Company.
  • The company’s Volunteer Partnerships continue to expand, including over a dozen local organizations.
  • The High School Intern Company receives sponsorship from the Festival of the Arts and Carroll Creek Rotary.
  • As You Like It performs at Hood College. Audience sizes increase by 50%.
  • As You Like It travels to Rockville and Gaithersburg and over 1,000 attend on 1 night alone!

Alive0612001-2002

  • The company’s educational tour, Shakespeare Alive!, debuts and performs for over 17,000 students across the state.
  • The Middle School Artist in Residency program debuts at Cabin John Middle School to rave reviews!
  • The High School Intern Company adds producing and performing a full Shakespeare play to its activities.
  • Producing Artistic Director Becky Kemper is named a “Person to Watch” by Frederick Magazine.
  • The company forges a Community Partnership with the Weinberg Center of the Arts.
  • The Taming of the Shrew performs at Hood College and travels to Rockville and Gaithersburg.

2002-2007

  • The company begins performing as Maryland Shakespeare Festival and its Good Will Summer Tour expands to include stops in Easton, Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Prince Georges County.
  • Good Will Tour 2002-2007 production history:
    • Twelfth Night, 2003
    • Comedy Of Errors, 2004
    • Much Ado About Nothing, 2005
    • Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2006

2007-2008

  • The company kicks off its first year-round season at its new indoor theatre space, the Elizabethan Playhouse at Centennial United Methodist Church.
  • The Staged Reading Series debuts with readings of Macbeth, Richard III, and The Winter’s Tale in the Fall and The Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, and As You Like It in the Spring.
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], the company’s first full winter production, performs at the Cultural Arts Center after a zoning technicality blocks performances at the Elizabethan Playhouse.
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor performs in the Good Will Summer Tour.

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Much Ado About Nothing

2008-2009

  • The company returns to the Elizabethan Playhouse for another year-round season.
  • The Bare Bards experiment begins! The company stages a series of original practices plays with minimal rehearsal. Actors arrive from around the country to perform in Coriolanus, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, and King Lear.
  • Macbeth performs as the company’s first full winter production at the Elizabethan Playhouse.
  • The Taming of the Shrew performs in the Good Will Summer Tour.

2009-2010

  • The company moves to a new indoor home at All Saints Episcopal Church.
  • The Bare Bards continue with Twelfth NightOthelloRomeo and JulietLove’s Labor’s Lost, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet performs in the Good Will Summer Tour 2010.

2010-2011

  • Maryland Shakespeare Festival bids a fond farewell to founding Artistic Director Becky Kemper as she departs for California to further her groundbreaking rhetoric research.
  • Longtime Company Member John Bellomo (veteran director of MSF’s The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet, actor in numerous Bare Bards, and Barrymore Award-winning fight choreographer) is welcomed as the company’s new Artistic Director. Candace Sorensen joins the full-time staff as MSF’s first Managing Director.
  • Bare Bard season: The Merchant of VeniceMeasure for MeasureMuch Ado About NothingTitus Andronicus, and As You Like It.
  • As You Like It performs throughout Maryland in an expanded, six-week Good Will Summer Tour 2011, with a special two-week residency at the Evergreen Museum & Library Meadow in Baltimore.
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