Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival To Return To Chatham Next Summer

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Arts

A scene from the Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival in Chatham's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” at Kate Gould Park last summer. FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – After a successful inaugural season, the Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival in Chatham will return next summer, again presenting two of the Bard's plays in Kate Gould Park.

The comedies “Much Ado About Nothing” and “As You Like It” will play in repertoire July 24 to Aug. 3 free of charge for audiences in the park.

Produced by alumni of the Monomoy Theatre, the shows averaged about 300 people per night, said artistic director and board president Alan Rust.

“Basically we thought we should try it again,” he told the park and recreation commission last week.

Rust and a number of people formerly involved with the Monomoy Theatre, which closed in 2018, formed a nonprofit in 2021 to run the Shakespeare festival. Tapping actors and others who were part of the Monomoy family, as well as students from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford – where Rust was the long-time drama department head – they put together a company that mounted “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and “Twelfth Night” in the park over two weeks. With a backdrop created by local artist Carol Odell featuring a representation of London's Globe theater, the shows went on in front of the bandstand every night except Friday, which is when the Chatham Band performs its weekly concerts. The shows are kept to 90 minutes and begin at 7 p.m. to take advantage of the natural light.

The biggest issue the organizers ran into was housing for company members, who were all paid professionals. Rust said they believe they've solved that problem. Funds for the project were raised through donors who responded to a fundraising letter, and some excess will be applied to housing costs next summer. Rust said the group hopes to tap into businesses and corporations for support next season.

“Last year it was selling an idea,” he said. “Now this year we actually have a proven product.”

This year the group plans to audition Cape Cod actors, Rust said, to help fill the roles in the two productions.

 

The commission voted unanimously to allow the festival to use the park for its planned productions, including Aug. 5, which was reserved as a rain date.  

CHATHAM – After a successful inaugural season, the Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival in Chatham will return next summer, again presenting two of the Bard's plays in Kate Gould Park.The comedies “Much Ado About Nothing” and “As You Like It” will play in repertoire July 24 to Aug. 3 free of charge for audiences in the park.Produced by alumni of the Monomoy Theatre, the shows averaged about 300 people per night, said artistic director and board president Alan Rust.“Basically we thought we should try it again,” he told the park and recreation commission last week.Rust and a number of people formerly involved with the Monomoy Theatre, which closed in 2018, formed a nonprofit in 2021 to run the Shakespeare festival. Tapping actors and others who were part of the Monomoy family, as well as students from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford – where Rust was the long-time drama department head – they put together a company that mounted “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and “Twelfth Night” in the park over two weeks. With a backdrop created by local artist Carol Odell featuring a representation of London's Globe theater, the shows went on in front of the bandstand every night except Friday, which is when the Chatham Band performs its weekly concerts. The shows are kept to 90 minutes and begin at 7 p.m. to take advantage of the natural light.The biggest issue the organizers ran into was housing for company members, who were all paid professionals. Rust said they believe they've solved that problem. Funds for the project were raised through donors who responded to a fundraising letter, and some excess will be applied to housing costs next summer. Rust said the group hopes to tap into businesses and corporations for support next season.“Last year it was selling an idea,” he said. “Now this year we actually have a proven product.”This year the group plans to audition Cape Cod actors, Rust said, to help fill the roles in the two productions.The commission voted unanimously to allow the festival to use the park for its planned productions, including Aug. 5, which was reserved as a rain date.