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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Touring Shakespeare troupe includes stops in Northeastern Wisconsin

Critic At Large

Summit Players Theatre of Wisconsin

Season logo.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – Summit Players Theatre this week returns to live, outdoor performances to present William Shakespeare’s “The Winter Tales” in 24 Wisconsin State Parks.

Wisconsin-based traveling theater company was off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release: Admission to all performances June 12 to Aug. 22 is free and preceded by a 45-minute educational workshop.

“We’re excited to get back to presenting live theater and bringing people together across Wisconsin, said A.J. Magoon, executive director and founding member of the organization. ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is like Shakespeare’s take on a fairy tale – there’s love, there’s loss, there’s magic and music. The audience gets to help us reach that happily-ever-after ending, which is a perfect way to return this year.”

Each “The Winter’s Tale” performance will be 75 minutes long. The free admission is in accordance with the company’s mission of creating Shakespeare anyone can afford, attend and understand.

Through a collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Summit Players troupe is also able to introduce audiences around the state to their local parks.

The group’s educational workshop, “Inside Shakespeare’s Story: The Winter’s Tale” is new this year and offered before every performance. It serves as a way for children and “fun adults” to get comfortable with the play, Shakespeare’s language and the way nature played into his works. Participants take part in Shakespeare games and exercises culminating in performing a short scene.

The Summit Players team boasts three new members – Maura Atwood, Cole Conrad and Kaylene Howard. The three will act in the romantic comedy/tragedy “The Winter’s Tale” and serve as teaching artists for the company.

“We’re coming back with something totally new, which is perfect for people who love us or people who have never seen us,” said Caroline Norton, education director and two-year alumna of the company’s tours. “There are new things to learn in our workshop, new people to see in our show, new jokes, new lessons and new fun while still getting that classic ‘Shakespeare in the State Parks’ experience.”

The season is supported in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board and Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The troupe’s sixth season schedule:

+ June 12: Richard Bong State Recreation Area – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ June 13: High Cliff State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

+ June 18: Three Bridges Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ June 19: Copper Culture State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ June 20: Hartman Creek State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

+ June 25: Yellowstone Lake State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ June 26: Wyalusing State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ June 27: Blue Mound State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

+ July 9: Copper Falls State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 10: Pattison State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 16: Havenwoods State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 17: Kohler-Andrae State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 18: Peninsula State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

+ July 23: Lake Kegonsa State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 24: Mirror Lake State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ July 25: Roche-a-Cri State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

 + Aug. 6: Governor Knowles State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 7: Interstate State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 9: Havenwoods State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 13: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Pike Lake Unit – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 14: Wildcat Mountain State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 15: Perrot State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

+ Aug. 20: Rib Mountain State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 21: Flambeau River State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m. | show: 7 p.m.

+ Aug. 22: Lake Wissota State Park – workshop: 1 p.m. | show: 2:30 p.m.

Summit Players Theatre, Inc. may be found on Facebook or online.

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