MCT, UM Bring Shakespeare to the Stage, Kicked Off Celebration of First Folio

March 11, 2016

MISSOULA – The Missoula Community Theatre and the University of Montana School of Theatre & Dance have kicked off a celebration of William Shakespeare with performances of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

The performances are additional campus and community programs that were scheduled in conjunction with “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on national tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library.”

The Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring the exhibition to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2016. UM was selected as the only location in Montana to feature the exhibit. The First Folio will be on display at UM May 9-31, at the Montana Museum of Art & Culture. It is cosponsored by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and MMAC.

Performances of MCT’s “The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged” will be held Friday through Sunday, March 11-13, and Wednesday through Sunday, March 15-20.

The production condenses the great works of Shakespeare into irreverent and hilarious micro-performances at breakneck speed. The cast improvises throughout the show, invoking modern pop culture and involving the audience.

The UM School of Theatre & Dance will perform “Romeo and Juliet” Wednesday through Saturday, April 27-30, and Tuesday through Saturday, May 3-7. One of the most famous love stories of all time, “Romeo and Juliet” has it all: love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, chance and fate. But no matter how familiar the plot may be, Shakespeare’s poetic tragedy is still haunting, romantic, compelling and timeless.

 “We are thrilled we will be able to showcase the folio on campus in May,” said Julie Biando Edwards, an associate professor at the Mansfield Library. “The Missoula and campus communities have rallied around this opportunity to deliver engaging programs that center around Shakespeare. These two theatre performances will kick off a slate of truly fantastic programs.”

UM and its partners will offer related programming while the First Folio is on campus. A current schedule is available online at: http://www.lib.umt.edu/folio/schedule.php.

The First Folio is the first complete collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after his death. Compiled by two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, it preserves 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. Without it, we would not have 18 previously unpublished masterpieces, including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”

“We are extremely excited to partner with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and so many fine organizations to celebrate the extraordinary contributions Shakespeare made to mankind,” said Barbara Koostra, MMAC director. “The exhibit promises exceptional cultural opportunities for our state.”

For more information on the exhibition visit http://www.lib.umt.edu/folio/about-the-folio/default.php.

The tour is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council and other generous donors.

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Contact: Julie Biando Edwards, associate professor, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, 406-243-4505, , julie.edwards@umontana.edu; Barbara Koostra, director, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019, barbara.koostra@mso.umt.edu.