Shakespeare by the Sea to host foolish feast

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Auditions for summer festival set for May 2

It is a foolish fundraiser, but a very important one for the Shakespeare by the Sea festival in St. John's.

The fundraiser is the annual "Feast of Fools" is scheduled for Friday, April 23 (on Shakespeare's 446th birthday, say organizers) at 6:30 p.m. at the Benevolent Irish Society's Irish Hall on Harvey Road.

Advertised as "another historic evening of Renaissance-themed frivolity and fun," the ticketed event features auctions, raffles and games and is held in support of play productions and workshops.

Shakespeare By the Seas Feast of Fools will have live music again this year, along with some surprises. Last year (pictured here), fire eating added to the entertainment. - Submitted photo

It is a foolish fundraiser, but a very important one for the Shakespeare by the Sea festival in St. John's.

The fundraiser is the annual "Feast of Fools" is scheduled for Friday, April 23 (on Shakespeare's 446th birthday, say organizers) at 6:30 p.m. at the Benevolent Irish Society's Irish Hall on Harvey Road.

Advertised as "another historic evening of Renaissance-themed frivolity and fun," the ticketed event features auctions, raffles and games and is held in support of play productions and workshops.

The 2010 "Feast of Fools" is the second annual - a response to the success of the event last year, said Shakespeare by the Sea's artistic director Jennifer Deon.

"We had a great turnout, but of course no one really knew what to expect," she said.

The result was an evening for cutting loose and enjoying some good food and fun, Deon said.

"It's sort of a celebration of Shakespeare in a really campy way," she said of the event. "It's a big, crazy evening of fun."

The 2010 "Feast of Fools" will include a three-course meal supplied by Red Oak Catering and the announcement of the winners of the festival's first annual sonnet competition: "Words, Words, Words."

The night will be hosted by Shakespeare by the Sea alumni Janet Edmonds and Neil Butler. It will also include special guest live auctioneers - and past CBC radio poet laureates - Christopher and Michael Pickard.

Alumni Award

Finally, the "Feast of Fools" will include the presentation of the Alumni of the Year award by the board of directors for Shakespeare by the Sea.

"This year's Alumni of the Year is Allan Hawco," said Deon.

"Each year we present the award to an artist who has found personal, artistic and/or community achievement in the preceding year. We think he scores pretty high on all three right now," she said.

In the last year, Hawco has acted as writer, executive producer and lead actor of the CBC television series "Republic of Doyle." The show was recently renewed for a second season.

Deon said Hawco has been informed of his alumni award win and is presently seeing whether or not he will be able to accept the award in person.

Tickets for "Feast of Fools" are $75 each and are now on sale, available from any board member or by calling 709-722-7287. They can also be requested by e-mail at sbts@nfld.com.

Deon said Hawco performed with the festival in the 1990s, before he left the province to study at the National Theatre School of Canada and, later, co-founded The Company Theatre in Toronto.

Interestingly, some of Hawco's fellow cast members in "Republic of Doyle" - including Kristin Pellerin and Sean Panting - are also Shakespeare by the Sea alumni.

Asked about the connection, Deon said it was just another example of how Shakespeare by the Sea has helped many professionals working today to gain experience and credits early in their careers.

"It just kind of illustrates we're a springboard," said Deon.

Workshop and auditions for new season

Meanwhile, including the "Feast of Fools," said Deon, "April's a really busy month for us."

From April 5-9, Shakespeare by the Sea will hold a stage combat workshop with a teacher from the National Theatre School of Canada and fight director for over 20 years, Jean-FranÇois Gagnon.

In addition, the line-up for the 2010 summer festival season has just been announced and work for the summer is beginning to ramp up.

The season is set to include: Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost" and "Troilus and Cressida;" the satiric "The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged);" the original children's play "Fairy Tale Mix Up" and the trio of popular Newman Wine Vault shorts of "The Signal-Man," "The Rats in the Walls" and "The Cask of Amontillado."

One of the plays for 2010 ("Troilus and Cressida"), will be staged on Signal Hill at the National Historic Site, said Deon. It will be a new venue for the festival.

Open auditions for the upcoming season have been scheduled for May 2 at the Reid Theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

All acting positions are volunteer and rehearsals for Shakespeare By the Sea productions are scheduled around participant work schedules, traditionally on evenings and weekends.

No preparation is required if you are heading into the auditions, but those interested are encouraged to call ahead to set up an audition time. You can also contact the office to volunteer backstage or in technical positions.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

SECOND ANNUAL FEAST OF FOOLS MENU

The fundraiser on April 23 for the 2010 Shakespeare By The Sea Festival will include the following three-course meal prepared by Red Oak Catering:

Spinach Salad - Leaves of young spinach tossed with sweet bacon, red peppers, mushrooms and a homemade dressing topped with mandarins and Gouda Cheese.

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken - A chicken breast served in a rich and hearty sun-dried tomato cream sauce, served with potato and vegetables.

Bavarian Cream with Newfoundland Berry Compote - Fresh vanilla beans blended with rich cream and served with a fruit and berry compote.

Special dietary requests can also be accommodated. For tickets call: 722-SBTS (7287).

Source: Shakespeare By the Sea Festival office

2010 SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

"Love's Labour's Lost" - William Shakespeare

Director: Jennifer Deon

Performances: Sundays and Mondays, July 4 to Aug. 9

Time: 7 p.m.

Venue: Harbourside Park

Roles: 20+ available (5 Female / 15 Male, plus assorted supporting cast)

"The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)" - The Reduced Shakespeare Company

Director: Krista Hann

Performances: Sundays and Mondays, July 11 to Aug. 9

Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: Topsail Beach Amphitheatre

Roles: 3 available (3 Male)

"Troilus and Cressida" - William Shakespeare

Director: Nicole Rousseau

Performances: Friday and Saturday, July 16 to Aug. 14

Time: 6 p.m.

Venue: Signal Hill National Historic Site

Roles: 26+ available (4 to 8 Female / 20+ Male)

"Fairy Tale Mix Up" - Krista Hann

Director: Phillip Goodridge

Performances: Fridays and Saturdays, July 3 to Aug. 15

Time: 2 p.m.

Venue: Bowring Park Amphitheatre

Roles: 3 to 5 available (1 to 2 Female / 2 to 3 Male)

"The Signal-Man" / "The Rats in the Walls" / "The Cask of Amontillado"

Director: Dave Walsh

Performances: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, July 6 to Aug. 11

Time: 8 p.m.

Venue: Newman Wine Vaults (Water Street)

Roles: Already cast.

This schedule is for audition purposes only. Please note, this schedule is subject to change and performance locations and times should be confirmed during the festival period with the Shakespeare By the Sea festival office.

Source: http://sbts.info/

Organizations: Benevolent Irish Society, CBC, National Theatre School of Canada Company Theatre in Toronto National Historic Site Reid Theatre Memorial University of Newfoundland Shakespeare Company

Geographic location: St. John's, Harvey Road, Signal Hill Topsail Beach Water Street

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