Festival's Roadshow moves caravan from spring to fall

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Seven months after ending the spring Texas Shakespeare Festival Roadshow, a new company will kick off the revamped fall Roadshow in October.

With changes to the University Interscholastic League’s One Act Play competition dates and other requests from teachers, the festival decided to shift the Roadshow to the fall, Matthew Simpson, associate artistic director of development, said.

Previously the Roadshow ran during February and March, but many teachers and students will be focusing on the One Act Play competition during that time, he said.

Moving the Roadshow to the fall has been a consideration, though, ever since the program was reinstated, he noted.

A second advantage to a fall Roadshow is giving some actors a longer contract, so some Roadshow participants will remain in Kilgore to appear in the festival’s holiday production.

“Hopefully in future years, we’ll be able to keep on more of the Roadshow actors and let the holiday show grow larger and larger,” Simpson said.

After a few years of experience with the Roadshow, he said, the shift to the fall was not as much of a jolt as it might have been in the past when the program was just beginning.

This year’s selections will be William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits.”

Simpson said there are aspects of both shows that students should enjoy.

“[‘Taming of the Shrew’] is a show that young people are really going to get pulled into because of the relationship between Kate and Petruchio is so exciting,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working on that play.”

Although the Roadshow has brought “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits” to schools before, Simpson said, this fall’s production will be a new, revamped show.

“We always try and change out the scenes that we do,” he said. Previously the template of the show has remained the same while only the scenes have changed. But this year, both the scenes and the template will change.

As in the past, the Roadshow will continue to come with an accompanying study guide about the play, a four-week lesson plan and an exercise and activity booklet leading up to the performance by the TSF Roadshow company.

The company has not been announced yet, but Simpson expects that announcement to come later this month.

In addition to a few East Texas stops, this year’s Roadshow will travel to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Odessa for what is becoming an annual weeklong residency at the Globe of the Great Southwest in Odessa.

As of Thursday afternoon, Simpson said, there were about two weeks left in the calendar – during the Oct. 30-Nov. 18 run – for schools to secure a visit from the TSF Roadshow this fall.

For more information or to book a date for the TSF Roadshow, contact Simpson at 903-983-8610 or go to www.TexasShakespeare.com.

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