Nell Gwynn: Bawdy, Brazen, and Bold
Jessica Swale’s comedy follows one of the first actresses in Britain: Nell Gwynn, whose wit and beauty propelled her from orange seller to leading lady and king’s mistress. Director of the Olivier Award-winning London production Christopher Luscombe returns to Chicago Shakespeare to helm the American premiere beginning September 20 in the Courtyard Theater. Excited to be revisiting Nell Gwynn, Luscombe recalls: “I remember when I first read this play that I really couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I’ve never done a play quite like it because it’s funny and musical and serious and political and historical and all those things mixed into one.”
Bard Core Turns 15
Twenty-four Chicago Public School teachers devoted a week of summer vacation to advancing their practice, participating in the Sheldon and Bobbi Zabel Bard Core course. This nationally recognized professional development program has redefined how Shakespeare is taught in Chicago high school classrooms, where it increases student literacy through drama-based activities. As one teacher expressed, “I’m always looking for ways to get kids inside the author’s mind. These strategies help so much with that.” Teachers reconvene three times throughout the year to continue training and supporting each other in implementing this work.
Voicing Socrates, MLK, and More
Kicking off the WorldStage series this September is Belgian theater company SKaGeN’s BigMouth, directed and performed by Valentijn Dhaenens. With nine microphones and an indefatigable energy, Dhaenens dives into 2,500 years of oration. In delivering some of the most monumental speeches from throughout history, he examines the power of words and the human voice to shape thought and manipulate people. BigMouth is the first of seven presentations from five countries, highlighting Chicago Shakespeare’s commitment to bringing the best international artists to the city’s stages and residents, alongside touring the Theater's productions around the world.
Committed to Access
"Whenever I went to see theater, I never saw anyone who was deaf, so it always felt like there were things I couldn't do," explains actor Richard Costes. Having recently finished a run in Chicago Shakespeare in the Park’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Costes did just that, serving as a role model for performers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Committed to accessibility on and off its stages, Chicago Shakespeare makes its productions available through myriad services, including wheelchair-accessible parking/seating, assistive-listening devices, ASL duo-interpretation, open-captioning, large-print and Braille programs, audio-description, and touch tours.