Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park

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Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park (OSP) was founded in 1985 in Edmond, Oklahoma, USA by current Executive Director and Artistic Director Kathryn McGill (née Huey) and Jack J. O'Meara. With two different performing venues, the organization produces a range of classic plays. Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is a non-profit organization overseen by a Board of Directors. Jason Foreman serves as Board President. [1] Jon Haque serves as Managing Director, and Michelle Swink as PR/Marketing Associate. In 2007, it relocated to downtown Oklahoma City.

Edmond, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Edmond is a city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in the central part of the state. As of the 2010 census, the population was 81,405, making it the sixth largest city in the state of Oklahoma.



OSP was founded in 1985 by Kathryn McGill and Jack J. O'Meara as an outdoor summer Shakespeare festival. McGill, a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, met O'Meara—a local television promotions director—on a visit home from her Master of Fine Arts training in New York City. Their shared interest in Shakespeare and the opportunity presented by the small stage in E.C. Hafer Park, which was available for use by community groups, led to the formation of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park as an outdoor summer Shakespeare festival. McGill and O'Meara found interested local actors and generated enthusiasm for the project. In July and August 1985, with a $500 grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council and their own money, they staged their first productions: Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Each play ran for 5 weeks, for a 10-week season, drawing a total attendance of 6,000 people. [1]

William Shakespeare English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

A Master of Fine Arts is a creative degree in fine arts, including visual arts, creative writing, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, dance, theatre, other performing arts and in some cases, theatre management or arts administration. It is a graduate degree that typically requires two to three years of postgraduate study after a bachelor's degree, though the term of study varies by country or university. The MFA is a terminal degree. Coursework is primarily of an applied or performing nature with the program often culminating in a major work or performance. The first university to admit a student to the degree of Master of Fine Arts was the University of Iowa in 1940.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Since the project turned out to be so popular, McGill and O'Meara decided to pursue the project further and formally incorporated Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park in 1986 with O'Meara acting as managing director and McGill as artistic director. Office and storage space was rented at the Edmond Community Center, along with an all purpose room used for a winter season of performances. The winter performances ran for 3 seasons, but since the space was shared with "…dog shows, cotillions, and other rental uses … which necessitated striking the set after almost every performance" [1] they were eventually put on hold until a more suitable space could be found. [1]

The summer productions fared better, expanding from two to three productions in 1988 and briefly switching to a rotating repertory format in 1989. In 1990 budget limitations forced a return to stock performances of four plays in 59 performances, but the company's goal was still to return to a rotating repertory format. They began charging admissions in 1988, but still set an attendance record with 12.000 visitors for three shows. [1]

In 1989 the City of Edmond's parks department created a new performance site for the company and in 1991 funded the construction of permanent toilet facilities. OSP also built its own semi-permanent two-story wooden thrust stage in 1990. [1] By 1991 OSP had grown to the point where its 25-member board could arrange two benefits each year, raising $15-20.000, and the company received fairly large grants from companies like Phillips Petroleum and Target Stores. [1]

In 2001, OSP's stage was destroyed by fire. The company rebuilt on the same location, but in 2005 fire again struck and the company relocated to the University of Central Oklahoma as a temporary home. In December 2006, under the leadership of then-Board President David Holt (politician), OSP announced that it was relocating to downtown Oklahoma City, and the Myriad Botanical Gardens Water Stage and from June 14 through September 1, 2007 it presented its inaugural summer season in downtown Oklahoma City with performances in repertory of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Macbeth. [2]

University of Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma, often referred to as UCO or Central, is a coeducational public university located in Edmond, Oklahoma. The university is the third largest in Oklahoma, with more than 17,000 students and approximately 434 full-time and 400 adjunct faculty. Founded in 1890, the University of Central Oklahoma was one of the first institutions of higher learning to be established in what would become the state of Oklahoma, making it one of the oldest universities in the southwest region of the United States. It is home to the American branch of the British Academy of Contemporary Music in downtown Oklahoma City.

David Holt (politician) American politician

David Holt is an American attorney, businessman and Republican politician who is the 36th Mayor of Oklahoma City. He is the youngest mayor of Oklahoma City since 1923, and for his first year in office was the youngest mayor of a U.S. city over 500,000. He is Oklahoma City's first Native American mayor. He also served as the majority whip of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.

Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is a non-profit organization overseen by a Board of Directors.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Engle, Ron; Londré, Felicia Hardison; Watermeier, Daniel J. (1995). Shakespeare Companies and Festivals: An International Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 270–73. ISBN   978-0-313-27434-3.
  2. Holt, David (December 12, 2006). "Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park Speech" (PDF). oklahomashakespeare.com. Water Stage, Myriad Botanical Garden: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. Retrieved January 7, 2009.