Every summer, the RU Theatre Company partners with UnCovered Theatre Company to produce the award-winning Shakespeare festival: Shakespeare Upon Avon.
Professional actors and directors from around the country come to RU’s campus each year to perform some of the Bard’s best plays, which are performed under the lights at an outdoor theatre in Lake Norcentra Park.
During its 10th anniversary, the theatre group presented one of Shakespeare’s best known comedies, “Twelfth Night,” directed by Rebekah Graham ‘22.
Almost 300 audience members saw the performance over the course of five shows, even though one scheduled show was canceled because of poor weather. This is the highest number of people to watch Shakespeare Upon Avon since before the COVID pandemic.
The cast in this show included RU faculty, Rob Arbaugh and Brandon Langeland; alumni Jessica Nichols, Arianna Engnell and Alex Link; local professionals Antonio Vettraino, Sarah Hartmus and Katie Akers, and RU student Ken Herndon.
Rob Arbauch, chair and artistic director of the Department of Theatre and Music, said Shakespeare upon Avon is a great opportunity for students to work as apprentices onstage and off — working alongside professional actors, directors, designers and stage managers.
“We have professional artists who are excited about teaching the art,” Arbaugh said. “Many of those people went through our program and want to give back, so they stick around and they become professional artists and continue working with us.”
Several performers have won BroadwayWorld Awards for acting and production for their work in Shakespeare on Avon.
“Shakespeare Upon Avon was one of my first experiences at RU,” Engnell said. “The beautiful and electric theatre magic of UnCovered’s Romeo & Juliet set the standard for what I expected out of theatre and myself. Over 10 years later, I was asked to be a part of the festival’s production of ‘Twelfth Night’ as a member of UnCovered. The past and recent artists who worked on the festival have made it clear that theatre magic is made through the collaboration of people who adore the art form, the playwright’s words, and each other.”
If you are interested in learning more about RU’s theatre program, visit rochesteru.edu/theatre.