All the world’s a stage and this week, the stage is in Bentonville.
Dave Peel Park will be transformed into a fictional forest as part of the first NWA Shakespeare Festival.
The Classical Edge theatre company has been bringing the works of William Shakespeare to life in Northwest Arkansas for the past seven years, but for the first time, it’s dedicating an entire week to the famed playwright.
The NWA Shakespeare festival is the result of a collaboration between the theatre company, the City of Bentonville and several organizations.
There will be a camp for kids and teens as well as nightly happy hours where creative writing students will be composing sonnets.
Performances of “As You Like It” will be the centerpiece of the festival.
The play is a comedy about a woman named Rosalind and her quest for love.
The production will include twenty professional and student actors.
Actor Laura Shatkus says the show is very relatable.
“I think people will find this play hilarious and I think they’ll lean in to the beauty of the language and the way in which Shakespeare illuminates universal truths about being a human being,” Shatkus explained.
Harry Stuart, another actor in the show, says Shakespeare’s writing is very inclusive.
“One of the things that I really love about it is universality, it appeals to everyone, all ages, all classes and I think that’s a wonderful thing,” Stuart said.
Director Justin Scheuer hopes the play will make Shakespeare more accessible.
“There’s something for everybody, there’s funny, silly jokes. There’s moving, very heartfelt scenes of connection and authenticity. There’s great music, there’s characters that you immediately fall in love with,” Scheuer said.
For a full schedule, click here.