MSU NEWS SERVICE

Now in its 24th season, Montana Shakespeare in the Schools will perform Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in approximately 50 schools, making its stop in Big Sky at Lone Peak High School on Friday, Dec. 9.  

During its annual fall tour, the program brings a live theatre production to approximately 12,000 students in communities throughout Montana, Wyoming and Washington.

The 10-week tour is the first of two educational outreach programs being offered by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, which is based at Montana State University, during this academic year.  

“As with the summer tour, this program places special emphasis on underserved, rural areas,” said Kevin Asselin, executive artistic director for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. “For many students, this is their only opportunity for live, professional theater.”

Chicago-based director William Brown will head this production. Brown first came to MSIP in 1980 as an actor. He did several summer tours before returning in 1993 as a director.

“For many communities, this is the cultural event of the year,” Brown said. “And for us, that responsibility makes every performance an essential one. Bringing ‘Hamlet’ to Montana’s schools is a rare opportunity. I could not be more excited.”

Workshops will be offered to each school on relevant themes in the play, Shakespearean verse, theatrical production and stage combat. The eight actor-educators who make up the touring company have been chosen from national auditions in Chicago, Minneapolis and Montana. Five out of eight are returning to the tour for the second time. They are Stephanie Chavara, Miles Duffey, Ty Fanning, Brett Garrett and Luke Massengill. Joe Bianco, Tyler Meredith and Faith Servant join the company for the first time.

A special performance, open to the public, will be held at the newly opened Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Montana, on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The touring production of “Hamlet” concludes Dec. 16. at Manhattan High School. “Montana Shakes!”—a tour designed specifically for elementary school children—will visit 60 schools in the spring.

For more information about Montana Shakespeare in the Schools and a full schedule of remaining performances, visit shakespeareintheparks.org/montana-shakespeare-in-the-schools.php or call (406) 994-3303.

Montana Shakespeare in the Schools

Southwest Montana schedule

Dec. 7: Belgrade High School, Belgrade
Dec. 8: Chief Joseph Middle School, Bozeman
Dec. 9: Lone Peak High School, Big Sky
Dec. 10: Public Performance at Tippet Rise Arts Center, Fishtail