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All the town's a stage for a weekend celebrating the Bard

By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN
Published February 14, 2007


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NEW PORT RICHEY - It may get chilly or damp, but that won't stop any of the activities planned for the second annual Shakespeare by the River festival in and around Sims Park this Friday through Sunday.

Forecasters are predicting highs in the low 60s and overnight lows in the 30s and 40s, with a slight chance of showers Saturday night.

"We won't let a little rain or cold stop us," said Charlie Skelton, president of the board at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

"We'll work it out somehow," said Ann Scott, events and community outreach director of the New Port Richey Public Library.

Skelton and Ms. Scott are the prime movers behind the popular event. They've staggered the schedule so that all activities planned in Sims Park can easily be moved into the theater, Peace Hall in Sims Park or the library on Main Street.

If there aren't enough seats in the theater for everyone to see the festival's centerpiece, the comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), at its scheduled time, show director Austin Helms said his troupe will do the originally planned show, let the audience leave, then invite those in the waiting line inside and do it again.

The show is about 93 minutes long. The Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances planned for the park's amphitheater (take chairs or blankets for seating) will be performed by Tom Bronson, Rick Bronson and John Smith. The Friday and Saturday evening performances in Richey Suncoast Theatre will be performed by Austin Helms, George Cahill IV and Bill D'Addio.

Other main events are a concert of baroque music, performances by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a birds of prey demonstration, lectures on poetry, theater and Shakespeare, a movie, kids' activities, a Renaissance fashion show, food vendors and other events.

All events are free, thanks to sponsors, including The St. Petersburg Times and Richey Suncoast Theatre, and a $4,000 grant from the city of New Port Richey.

That and countless hours of work by volunteers and organizers.

"I like to do things for free," Skelton said. "I want to get people involved in the arts who have never been involved in the arts before." He believes that once they see a live performance, they'll come back for more and many will bring their children.

If you go

Shakespeare by the River

WHERE: Sims Park, New Port Richey; Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey; and New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

WHEN: 7-9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

TICKETS: All events are free.

Friday

7 p.m.: Brooksville Baroque Band plays music by Purcell, Gabrielli, Praetorius, Handel and Bach at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

7:30 p.m.: The Society for Creative Anachronism's Torchlight Tourney, Sims Park (rain site Richey Suncoast Theatre).

8 p.m.: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Richey Suncoast Theatre.

Saturday

10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Birds of Prey from Homosassa Wildlife, Sims Park (rain site: library).

11 a.m.: "Shakespeare's Sisters, Shakespeare's Sonnets," talk by Carmine Bell, Ph.D., Peace Hall.

Noon-2 p.m.: Sword fights reenacted by SCA, Sims Park (rain site: Richey Suncoast Theatre).

1-3 p.m.: Kids Fun, make masks, puppets and gingerbread men; photos in the stocks, Sims Park (rain site: library).

1 p.m.: "History of the Globe Theatre," talk by Arthur Day, Ph.D., Peace Hall.

2 p.m.: Movie, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 137 minutes, Richey Suncoast Theatre.

4:30 p.m.: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Sims Park (rain site: theater).

7:30 p.m.: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Richey Suncoast Theatre.

7:30 p.m.: SCA Torchlight Tourney, Sims Park (rain site: theater at 7 p.m.).

Sunday

9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.: Kids Fun in the Park, Sims Park (rain site: library).

Noon-2 p.m.: SCA fighters, Sims Park.

2 p.m.: SCA Renaissance fashion show, authentic costumes, Sims Park (rain site: theater).

3:15 p.m.: Mitchell High Players perform monologues and scenes from Shakespeare's As You Like It, Sims Park (rain site: theater).

4 p.m.: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Sims Park (rain site: theater).

[Last modified February 13, 2007, 22:58:07]


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