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The National Players is the longest-running classical touring company in the United States.
After 70 consecutive seasons of touring, this acting company has given approximately 6,600 performances and workshops on plays by Shakespeare, O'Neill, Molière, Shaw, Kafka, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Stoppard and Peter Shaffer. Currently a program of Olney Theatre Center, National Players has performed for the public in 41 states, reaching young audiences in areas that are isolated geographically or economically – audiences that would otherwise never see live performances of classic plays. In response to invitations from the Department of Defense and the State Department, Players have toured Europe, Asia, and the Middle East performing for American military. During the Korean War, they made a six-week tour of Japan and Korea to entertain GIs, and have been to 5 White House receptions in appreciation for outstanding service.
National Players was founded in 1949 by Father Gilbert V. Hartke, OP, a prominent arts educator and head of the drama department at Catholic University of America. His mission—to stimulate young people’s higher thinking skills and imaginations by presenting classical plays in surprisingly accessible ways—is as urgent and vital today as it was sixty-four years ago. A single twin-bill truck-and-station-wagon company, traveling under the banner of "Players, Incorporated," "University Players, " "Players," and finally "National Players," has continued to bring classic productions across the country from September to May.
A nationwide search of graduates of college and university theater programs leads to the casting of members of the touring company. In the tradition of traveling players, the troupe arrives a few hours before the scheduled performance to prepare the stage: raise the set, hang and focus the lights, check sound equipment and props, and arrange dressing rooms, before donning costumes and make-up. When the final curtain falls, they do everything in reverse.
National Players is now in its 70th year of touring. This year's productions are Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a stage adaptation of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, and Arthur Miller's The Crucible .
Tour 69: Shakespeare's Othello, a stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, and an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby .
Tour 68: Shakespeare's Hamlet, a stage adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and an adaptation by Eric Coble of Lois Lowry's The Giver .
Tour 67: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar ; Benjamin Kingsland's adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities
Tour 66: Shakespeare's As You Like It and The Tempest ; Christopher Sergel's adaptation of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird
Tour 65:Shakespeare's Macbeth and Comedy of Errors ; an adaptation of Homer's Odyssey
The National Players have received accolades from Walter Kerr, drama critic emeritus of The New York Times; Patrick Hayes, founder and managing director of the Washington Performing Arts Society; and the late Helen Hayes. Players' alumni include John Heard, Laurence Luckinbill, Gino Conforti, John Slattery, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Stan Wojewodski (former Dean of the Yale School of Drama) and David Richards (drama critic for the New York Times). Most recently, National Players received special recognition from The Shakespeare Guild, presenter of The Golden Quill, the Sir John Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts.
Julie Taymor is an American director and writer of theater, opera and film. Since her stage adaptation of The Lion King debuted in 1997, 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people in over 100 cities in 19 countries, earning it the highest worldwide gross of any entertainment title in box office history. Lion King also received 11 Tony Award nominations, earning Taymor Tony Awards for Best Director and Costume Designer, and was honored with more than 70 major arts awards worldwide. In 1998, she became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Direction of a Musical with her staging of the theatre adaptation of The Lion King.
The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's early plays. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors is, along with The Tempest, one of only two Shakespeare plays to observe the Aristotelian principle of unity of time—that is, that the events of a play should occur over 24 hours. It has been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre numerous times worldwide. In the centuries following its premiere, the play's title has entered the popular English lexicon as an idiom for "an event or series of events made ridiculous by the number of errors that were made throughout".
Sir Peter Reginald Frederick Hall, CBE, was an English theatre, opera and film director. His obituary in The Times declared him "the most important figure in British theatre for half a century" and on his death, a Royal National Theatre statement declared that Hall's "influence on the artistic life of Britain in the 20th century was unparalleled".
Ben Iden Payne, also known as B. Iden Payne, was an English actor, director and teacher. Active in professional theater for seventy years, he helped the first modern Repertory Theatre in the United Kingdom, was an early and effective advocate for Elizabethan staging of Shakespeare plays, and served as an inspiration for Shakespeare Companies and University theater programs throughout North America and the British Isles. His name lives on as the name of a theater at the University of Texas as well as annual theater awards presented in Austin, Texas.
Ken Ludwig is an American playwright and theatre director whose work has been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages.
Theatre of Australia refers to the history of the performing arts in Australia, or produced by Australians. There are theatrical and dramatic aspects to a number of Indigenous Australian ceremonies such as the corroboree. During its colonial period, Australian theatrical arts were generally linked to the broader traditions of English literature and to British and Irish theatre. Australian literature and theatrical artists have over the last two centuries introduced the culture of Australia and the character of a new continent to the world stage.
Patrick Page is an American actor, low bass singer, and playwright. He has originated the roles of Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Grinch in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical and Hades in Hadestown. He also played Menenius in Red Bull Theater's Coriolanus.
Punchdrunk is a British theatre company, formed in 2000, by Artistic Director Felix Barrett MBE. Since its inception, Punchdrunk has pioneered a form of "immersive" theatre in which the audience is free to choose what to watch and where to go. This format is related to "promenade theatre". Artistic director Felix Barrett prefers the term "site-sympathetic" when describing their work. In 2015, Punchdrunk formed a new company, Punchdrunk International, which produces a selection of Punchdrunk's commercial productions for national and international audiences.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is an 8½ hour-long adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1839 novel, performed in two parts. Part 1 was 4 hours in length with one interval of 15 minutes. Part 2 was 4½ hours in length with two intervals of 12 minutes. It was originally presented onstage over two evenings, or in its entirety from early afternoon with a dinner break. Later it was presented on television over four evenings.
Thousands of performances of William Shakespeare's plays have been staged since the end of the 16th century. While Shakespeare was alive, many of his greatest plays were performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men and King's Men acting companies at the Globe and Blackfriars Theatres. Among the actors of these original performances were Richard Burbage, Richard Cowley, and William Kempe.
Richard McCabe is a British actor who has specialised in classical theatre. He is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
The Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City was founded in 1977 as a professional (AEA) theatre company on the Upper West Side of New York City, by W. Stuart McDowell and Gloria Skurski. Focusing on Shakespeare plays and other classical repertoire, it operated through 1997.
The Ian Charleson Awards are theatrical awards that reward the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under age 30. The awards are named in memory of the renowned British actor Ian Charleson, and are run by the Sunday Times newspaper and the National Theatre. The awards were established in 1990 after Charleson's death, and have been awarded annually since then. Sunday Times theatre critic John Peter (1938–2020) initiated the creation of the awards, particularly in memory of Charleson's extraordinary Hamlet, which he had performed shortly before his death. Recipients receive a cash prize, as do runners-up and third-place winners.
John Retallack is a British playwright and director.
California Shakespeare Theater is a regional theater located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Its performance space, the Lt. G. H. Bruns III Memorial Amphitheater, is located in Orinda, while the administrative offices, rehearsal hall, costume and prop shop are located in Berkeley.
Classical Theatre Project is a professional theatre company based in Toronto, Ontario that creates innovative productions of classic plays for a new generation of theatre fans. The company was founded in 2001 and focuses on producing the works of William Shakespeare. Since its creation, the CTP has played to more than 500,000 audience members across Canada and the U.S.
Shakespeare in the Park is a term for outdoor festivals featuring productions of William Shakespeare's plays. The term originated with the New York Shakespeare Festival in New York City's Central Park, originally created by Joseph Papp. This concept has been adapted by many theatre companies, and over time, this name has expanded to encompass outdoor theatre productions of the playwright's works performed all over the world.
Oak Park Festival Theatre (OPFT) is a professional theatre company in Oak Park, Illinois, under contract with Actors' Equity Association. The company was founded in 1975 by Marion Kaczmar, an Oak Park resident and arts patron, and performed Renaissance works, almost exclusively by William Shakespeare, until 2004, when it broadened its scope to classics of other eras. Its outdoor venue has been Austin Gardens, a wooded park near downtown Oak Park within walking distance from restaurants, Frank Lloyd Wright landmarks, and Metra and CTA trains. To attract a greater following, Renaissance, classical, and modern American works were added to the offerings, some being produced indoors in historic Farson-Mills Home and, in the 2010-11 season, in the studio space in the Madison Street Theatre.
Caesar is the title of Orson Welles's innovative 1937 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a modern-dress bare-stage production that evoked comparison to contemporary Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Considered Welles's highest achievement in the theatre, it premiered November 11, 1937, as the first production of the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented an acclaimed series of productions on Broadway through 1941.
The African-American Shakespeare Company (AASC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit professional regional theatre company in San Francisco, California. Since its founding in 1994 Sherri Young has been its Executive Director and in 2009 L. Peter Callender joined as its Artistic Director.