Shakespeare brought to life in Stratford

By Sean Leary

To be or not to be going to see Shakespeare is a choice NIU students have thanks to the NIU Department of English.

The department, along with the Office of International and Special Programs and the College of Continuing Education are sponsoring a trip to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Canada to see three of Shakespeare’s finest works: “Hamlet,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Timon of Athens.” Also on the bill are Moliere’s “School for Wives” and “Carousel.”

There are summer and fall trips scheduled, with the summer trip scheduled from Aug. 6 to 10, and the fall trip scheduled through Nov. 1 to 4. The deadline for signing up for the summer trip is June 25. Students can get one hour of academic credit for attending the trip, providing certain requirements are met.

Students leave DeKalb and travel by university van to Stratford and stay in guest homes (provided by the university) within walking distance of the theatre. A pre_trip seminar is scheduled a week before each trip to orient the students with the trip.

NIU has been sponsoring trips to the festival for five years, although the festival has been presenting productions annually for 39 years.

The theatre got its start when Stratford native Tom Patterson realized a growing demand for Shakespearean theatre within his hometown. He began courting talent throughout New York and London and eventually got the attention of Tyrone Guthrie who agreed to take the project because of the artistic freedom he would be given. He used this freedom to build a theatre identical to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, only with the benefits of modern technology.

On July 13, 1953 the production group opened with Sir Alec Guinness (Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars) in Richard III.

The trip includes back_stage tours and post performance discussions with cast members, as well as admission to special events surrounding the festival.

Interested persons should contact Deborah Booth at the College of Continuing Education, 753-6913.