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It's a busy summer for Tallahassee's Southern Shakespeare Company

 Southern Shakespeare's Laura Johnson and Phil Croton prepare for a performance.
Robert Howard
Southern Shakespeare Company/used with permission
Southern Shakespeare's Laura Johnson and Phil Croton prepare for a performance.

Tallahassee’s Southern Shakespeare Company is Definitely NOT on vacation this summer. The local performing group is connecting with the area’s young people while they’re out of school. The company is coming off of a triumphant weekend of spring Shakespeare Festival performances at Tallahassee’s Cascades Park. Now the company’s Education Director Jason Chimonides said there’s a full slate of Shakesperian outreach happening over the next few months.

“So our first program we’re going to be doing is something we do quite often; our ‘Shakespeare Man’ program. And that is SSC educator, classically trained actor and bona fide Southlander Mr. Phil Croton who’ll be doing some appearances as ‘’Shakespeare Man.’ And this is his one man show embodiment of the life, times and works of William Shakespeare.”

Croton will be appearing on Monday, July 18th at the main library downtown, and Thursday, July 21st at the Eastside Branch library.

“We’ll also be doing a new project for us, which we’re calling ‘Shakespeare Collage.’ This will feature 4 performers, all of whom are Company and staff members with Southern Shakespeare. That’s myself, Phil Croton, Robin Jackson and Laura Johnson who just recently portrayed Beatrice in ‘Much Ado (About Nothing.’"

Chimonides explained those performances will be a bit of a mash-up.

“Scenes, soliloquies, sonnets and songs from a smattering of Shakespeare texts, such as ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ‘Richard the Third,’ ‘As You Like It,’’Henry the Fifth,’ ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’’Macbeth,’ ‘Twelfth Night,’ and more. So those are going to be happening at various times throughout the month of July at various branches of the Leon County Library System.”

Specifically, Tuesday July 12th at the B.L. Perry Library branch and Thursday July 14th at the Fort Braden’s branch libarahy, where Chimonides insisted young audiences will find a lot to like and relate to in the presentations.

“Shakespeare is in our contemporary world and surprisingly accessible to folks if they have the right introduction..And that’s what we’re looking to provide in these Leon County Library free events. They’ll be about 45-minute presentations.”

There’s something for theatrically-inclined grownups as well. Chimonides said 3 Saturday theatrical workshops are coming up in late July and early August.”

“One of our summer workshop series offerings that we’ll be doing later in the summer, I’m going to be teaching a 90-minute workshop on Shakespeare inspired play writing and adaptation where we’re going to look at that and take a piece from Shakespeare - a character or speech - and adapt it for contemporary audiences.”

Other workshops will include a session on costuming and even theatrical sword fighting. There’s a full schedule of summer happenings on the Southern Shakespeare Company web site and Facebook page.

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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