Nashville, TN – Come spend the Dog Days of summer in the refreshing oasis of oneC1TY as the Nashville Shakespeare Festival will once again work with the Kennie Playhouse Theater to bring two exciting plays to Middle Tennessee: August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

“August Wilson and William Shakespeare are bards who make us think, help us feel and touch our souls,” says NSF Executive Artistic Director Denice Hicks, “these two plays are adventures into the human heart, directed by strong female characters with themes of loyalty and forgiveness.

Chuck Smith, resident director of the Goodman Theater in Chicago, who directed Jitney for the 2021 Summer Shakespeare Festival, returns to direct Gem of the Ocean. Set in Pittsburgh in 1904, Gem of the Ocean is “the redemption story of a young African American man and the powerful people he meets along the way,” Smith says. Aunt Ester (Jackie Welch), a well-known 285-year-old wise woman from the city whose home has become a sanctuary for the troubled and lost. She helps guide Citizen Barlow (Jarvis Bynum), a man who fled Alabama after he indirectly caused the death of another man by stealing a bucket of nails, through a spiritual journey to redemption and the discovery of self. “Gem of the Ocean was chosen because of August Wilson’s insightful writing and the unique way it tells the story of those who have been forgotten,” says producer and actor Kenny Dozier who also plays the character. of Caesar.

“Shakespeare’s Cymbeline has it all,” says Vanderbilt University principal and professor Leah Lowe, “A brave princess, an evil stepmother, a handsome hero, and a dastardly villain. It’s an epic adventure story that explores betrayal, intrigue, loss and, ultimately, forgiveness. Cymbeline is a convoluted story of King Cymbeline (Steven Young), his daughter Imogen (Jamie Herb), a plot to marry Imogen to the king’s stepson, two kidnapped sons, and a special appearance from Jupiter (Katie Brown)! Add a war between Britain and Rome and this “tragedy” becomes a comedy of mistaken identities.

Cymbeline plays August 18-21, September 4-5, and September 10-11 at oneC1TY, a vibrant urban community using sustainable design features with plenty of green space and a community lawn that encourages walking, cycling, and cycling. outdoors, music, art and theatre. Gem of the Ocean runs August 25-28, September 1-3, and September 8-9. The two plays next perform in Franklin, TN at Academy Park from September 15-18.

Creative teams include set designer Shane Lowery, Fisk University professor Persephone Felder Fentress as stage manager, assistant stage manager Nikkita Staggs, costume designers Bethany Dinkle and Olufunamayo Rigsby, assistant costume designer Alexis Grigsby, property manager Patricia “Pixie” Convertino, music for Gem of the Ocean by three-time Grammy nominee Joseph Wooten, music for Cymbeline by Paul Carrol Binkley and a pre-show concert series hosted by Mary Sack. The Festival is a free event with a suggested donation of $10 per person per show. Each evening will begin with food vendors at 5:15 p.m., an “Insight” talk at 5:30 p.m., a pre-show concert at 6:00 p.m. and the main performance at 7:00 p.m. Royal VIP packages are available and include reserved seating, parking and dinner.

This project is sponsored in part by Advance Financial Foundation, Amazon, Jackson National Life Insurance Company, the National Endowment for the Arts, oneC1TY, Williamson County Parks & Recreation, and the Williamson County Performing Arts Center at Academy Park. All Nashville Shakespeare Festival programs are supported in part by Metro Arts/Nashville Office of Arts & Culture and the Tennessee Arts Commission. For more information, go to https://www.nashvilleshakes.org/shakespeare-in-the-park.

About the Nashville Shakespeare Festival: https://www.nashvilleshakes.org/history-and-mission The mission of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF) is to educate and entertain the Mid-South community through professional theater experiences . The NSF enriches and unifies our community with bold, innovative and relevant productions, as well as engaging and engaging educational programs, setting the community standard of excellence in outreach. Since 1988, NSF has provided free, accessible outdoor theater each summer that has served audiences from all economic backgrounds, employing hundreds of diverse theater artists and engaging thousands of volunteers. In ongoing efforts toward equity and diversity, the Festival has formed a creative collaboration with Kennie Playhouse Theatre, a Nashville company dedicated to African American playwrights and performers, as we seek to unify Nashville theater audiences and to increase inclusion in our organizations. As of 2020, our collaborative programming includes African American playwrights in addition to Shakespeare, and employs at least 50% BIPOC artists and technicians. The goal is to create great theater that reflects the rich diversity of our community and creates a culture of acceptance and unity. This collaboration won the Nashville Scene Writer’s Choice 2021 Best of Nashville Award for “Best New Artistic Partnership” citing, “The collaboration itself has proven to be a success, reminding us of theater’s distinct ability to bring communities together. ” More at https://www.nashvilleshakes.org

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