North Adams, MA (7/6/11) – The Minerva Arts Center announces its first annual Shakespeare production, Hamlet, directed by guest artists Christopher Beaulieu and Jess Pillmore (Co-Artistic Directors, Creatively Independent). This post-modern feminist exploration of Hamlet previews Wednesday, July 20 and runs
From the first day, actors felt that this was going to be a different process. “Auditions involved ensemble devised pieces,” remarks Jess Pillmore. “We needed to see what the individual could bring to the table. This is essential in Creatively Independent’s creation process. Other companies develop their ensemble through the work. We develop ensembles in order to work. Where others focus on ‘How’, we focus on ‘Why’. We’ve found those differences to be crucial.” This is why the first week of rehearsals became master classes in contact improvisation, intention work and Creatively Independent’s original techniques – “As One” (tapping into the collective consciousness) and “The Tangible Objective”.
“Originally, we were asked to direct Macbeth,” said Christopher Beaulieu, “but we changed gears at auditions, after getting a feel for the acting community. Jess and I felt that Hamlet would play to the ensemble’s strengths as well as challenge them. We were also taken aback by the strong female turn out at auditions, and felt that now was a perfect time to explore the social-political issues inherent in Hamlet from a stronger female perspective.”
Hamlet is indicative of the MAC’s commitment to bringing exciting and adventurous new work to the Berkshire summer theatre season. In addition to the production’s core artistic team, which will be in residence during July, major roles will be filled by actors from throughout the Northeast, including the role of Hamlet, played by Pittsfield native, Chelsea LeSage. As Minerva Arts Center Executive Director Edward Cating said in a recent interview about the production, “This Hamlet marks a turning point for the MAC, bringing fresh talent, and exceptionally well-trained actors, together with a directing team whose focus on a vibrant, ensemble-based interdisciplinary approach to theatre is unparalleled. We are excited to bring what I believe will be one of the stand-out theatrical productions of our summer season to the Berkshires – bar none! Whether it’s been a decade or a month since you’ve seen a production of Hamlet, this show will surprise you!”
Hamlet opens Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 pm playing through to July 31. Evening performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm. Matinees are Saturdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 5 pm. Preview night, Wednesday, July 20, is “Pay What You Can”.
The Minerva Arts Center located at 1288 Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams, MA, in the former Our Lady of the Incarnation Church in the Historic Blackinton neighborhood.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 students/seniors. Call for group rates (10 or more).
Tickets for Hamlet can be purchased by phone at (413) 346-4502 or in person at The Minerva Arts Center, 1288 Massachusetts Ave., North Adams, MA 01247.
ABOUT MINERVA STAGE
The Minerva Arts Center is a collaborative organization, serving Northwest Massachusetts as a unique performance venue for regional and visiting artists; the MAC also provides classes in a variety of disciplines. The MAC operates under the artistic direction of Minerva Stage, which was founded in 1996 by Kathleen O’Mara. http://www.minervastage.com
ABOUT CREATIVELY INDEPENDENT
Ensemble based, interdisciplinary arts company, Creatively Independent, uses the performing arts and education to provoke any individual ready to find, strengthen and expand their point of view in order to achieve creative independence in their art, their business, their community and their life. CI travels internationally 250+ days/year directing, choreographing, producing and teaching the performing arts. Their work has been performed from Off-Broadway to elementary schools across the country. CI’s strong focus, on using the arts as a tool for self-awareness and change, was recognized by the NEA for “Living Inside/Art in the Jail”. Last year, Creatively Independent broke ground on its first studio in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This is the first stage of an interdisciplinary arts retreat built to foster new works from emerging companies. This year, they are opening The Lab in Jacksonville, FL, the nation’s first interdisciplinary studio for all ages and skill levels. More information can be found at http://www.creativelyindependent.net