Lunch Hours | Race & Shakespeare (with Kelsie Blocker)

Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Assistant Artistic Director, Claire F. Martin, interviews actor/writer Kelsie Blocker about navigating the racism and sexism embedded both in Shakespeare’s plays and in the field of classical theater.

More about our Lunch Hours guest: Kelsie is an actor, writer, and comedian based in Virginia. She is a Shakespeare and Performance student at Mary Baldwin and has a Bachelor’s in English from the University of South Carolina.

Contact us at

Make a monthly, sustaining pledge on Patreon to support the work of  Sweet Tea Shakespeare and its artists. We are a 501(c)3 charitable  organization.

Sweet Tea Shakespeare: Patreon: 

The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig.

Our Director of Engagement is Ashanti Bennett. Jen Pommerenke and Julie Schaefer also assisted with this episode.






This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by  contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from  the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts  Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural  Resources.

Cocktail Hours | Pirates Can Be Business Sexy (with guest Julie Schaefer)

This first ever publicly available Cocktail Hours podcast touches on everything from sexy pirate business-wear, shaming Claire for not knowing what Animal Crossing is, and more silly tipsy shenanigans. Our Cocktail Hours segment is hosted by Sweet Tea Artistic Director, Jeremy Fiebig, Assistant Artistic Director, Claire F. Martin, and Company Member, Jessie Wise. This week has a surprise guest in Sweet Tea staff member, Julie Schaefer (bringin’ ALL the sexy back!).

Patreon members get exclusive access to the official Cocktail Hours live stream, where patrons get to choose the content and interact with the hosts. Join us there at We are a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Contact us at 

The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig.

Our Director of Engagement is Ashanti Bennett. Jen Pommerenke and Julie Schaefer also assisted with this episode.






This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by  contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

New Stage

We’re Building a Living Room at Sweet Tea Shakespeare

We’re Making a Living Room and Planning for a Home

For seven years, Sweet Tea Shakespeare has been partly homeless, living blissfully off the hospitality of our gracious hosts. Today the day where that starts to change.

Join us in giving to the Living Room today.

We’re building a strong foundation in Fayetteville and we need our community to help lay it — brick by proverbial brick. Thanks to a gracious offer by our friends at the American Shakespeare Center, we’ve agreed to purchase their gorgeous touring playhouse as soon as their current national tour concludes in early April. This playhouse, along with the set from BEDLAM‘s off-Broadway production of Pygmalion we purchased last year, combine to make an extraordinary pop-up theatre space reminiscent of Shakespeare’s indoor performance spaces. In a few years’ time, we’ll take these lovely pop-up pieces and use them as anchors for a longterm home, whether that be on a patch of ground, in a warehouse or garage, or nestled cozily in a barn. Together, our playhouse and seating areas constitute a one-of-a-kind living room where Sweet Tea Shakespeare performances can continue to transform folks into the living versions of themselves.

But to make that happen, we need our community to take up its role in this fantastic, new, playful scene in our story.

New Stage

We Make Home for Our Community

Sweet Tea Shakespeare is hand-tailored and locally made, not mass produced. We connect to establish long term relationships with our audience, our venue partners and community. We build our shows, every night from the ground up — lights, music, sets… all of it. A daunting task made to look like magic. Wherever we are found, we create a sense of home. We take our role as one of the many dedicated caretakers of our community’s arts and culture vitality seriously. In more ways than plays, we strive to engage everyone in our community — our school-aged youth and university students, active duty and veteran service members and their families, visitors, and everyone who calls this place home. Because we truly believe that Fayetteville and Cumberland County deserves it.

What Happens in Our Living Room

We live in a digital era. Moments to truly engage with one another in meaningful ways are fewer and more important than ever before. Experience the antidote to disconnection and distraction with a night of magical theatre under the stars or in a setting that feels like a living room. Sweet Tea Shakespeare offers a dynamic interactive experience unlike any other in Fayetteville or the surrounding areas. An open-air or impossibly intimate theatre with musical performances, good food and drinks are the backdrop for traditional storytelling with a twist. Innovative staging builds immediate connection between actor and audience and places the audience at the center of the performance – more participant than observer.

We invite you to be a part of this exciting moment where intention met with action makes magic. 

Join us by clicking here.

Let’s Get Real

Sweet Tea Shakespeare started as a dream.  A dream to bring the plays of Shakespeare alive for new audiences.  To show those audiences that words penned 400 years ago are still relevant.  A dream for characters to come alive and connect with audiences.  The dream started small and has grown to serve several theatre goers every year. Shakespeare came from humble beginnings.  The son of a glove-maker, he charted his own course by becoming a playwright (can you imagine that dinner conversation?).  Shakespeare’s band of merry men was no larger than our own group of beloved actors.  12-15 passionate storytellers transforming the complex issues of their time and making them available for everyone. We like small.  We’re good at small.  We’re good at stringing small things together and making them into a larger thing.  We put our shows up every night from the ground up – lights, music, sets, all of it.  It looks daunting, but almost by magic, it happens.

A Look at the Details

Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s purchase of the American Shakespeare Center’s touring playhouse facade and BEDLAM’s set, along with the storage and logistical elements of managing the pop-up theatre for the next few years, is a minimum investment of $15,000. In addition to this campaign, we are also engaging philanthropists, foundations, corporations, and small-to-medium businesses in a sustained giving circle meant to help make this living room project come alive by matching it with world-class organizational sustainability and staffing. If you’re interested in a high-impact gift over the next few years, including cash, operating loans, land, performance space, or other in-kind gifts, we’d love to hear from you. Simply contact our staff: Jeremy Fiebig, Artistic Director (, or Ashanti Bennett, General Manager (

The American Shakespeare Center is, in many respects, the “mother ship” of Sweet Tea Shakespeare. It’s where Artistic Director Jeremy Fiebig went to graduate school, and it’s a world-wide leader in doing the transformative work Sweet Tea Shakespeare is doing in Fayetteville. BEDLAM is a noteworthy, provocative, and gregarious company in NYC (and now with occasional national tour engagements) known for upending classics in a great bear hug of intensely good acting and simple, imaginative staging.

Sweet Tea Shakespeare is a year-round theatre company producing outdoor and indoor theatre. Since its inception in 2012, STS has developed a distinctive and necessary voice within Fayetteville theatre and the performing arts. STS’s work has been recognized in the press and within the community as a vital asset in the cultural landscape of the region. STS offers a dynamic and interactive performance experience.  Each performance includes a pre-show, an intermission concert, and audience engagement activities with food, beer, wine, and other treats for sale. An event typically lasts three to four hours and has an overall feel much more like attending a ballgame than a typical theatre performance. We are decidedly unstuffy. Kids — and adults — are welcome to roam around. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own seating and make themselves comfortable; the same is said for those without seating of their own as rental seating options are always available. The event is much like a party where a play breaks out.

Make a contribution to our playhouse here.

STS Offerings

The Honey Series at STS celebrates the work of women in theatre. Each production features women in every aspect of the creative process, from acting and writing to producing and costuming. Shows in the series include stories focused on women and often feature new adaptations of classical works by beloved authors as well as original work by female playwrights.
Lit is our irreverent series that sends up Shakespeare – over drinks. Part Bard, part improv, part music, and tons of audience interaction. Lit is a raucous celebration held in local breweries, pubs and bars.
Green Tea Shakespeare is a youth company committed to development and learning among young talent. Green Tea brings Shakespeare to young adults (ages 12-17) in a fresh way, encouraging them to find joy in stories, old and new. During monthly Green Tea sessions, company members learn to work as an ensemble to make authentic theatre. The group is introduced to acting techniques, scene study, improvisation, and study of Shakespeare’s language over the course of a year, culminating in a full production.
Behold is Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s annual Christmas concert. Behold has developed a reputation as a reflective, stirring and heartfelt Christmas celebration.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare has entertained over 16,000 audience members from our 43 plus productions.  We enjoy serving the Fayetteville community we call home and will happily share our special brand of theatre with other communities.  We are passionate about employing local actors and musicians who imbue our productions with their love of this place.

What our audience says…

“This is not boring Shakespeare! I have never felt so welcome with a group of people.”

“…easily the best play I’ve ever seen. From the unique costumes, the jokes, the casual welcoming atmosphere, the style of adaptation, to the songs before, between and during the performance…”

“A dedicated, talented, inspiring, loving and devoted group of people!”

“…the perfect way to spend an evening!”

“Sweet Tea Shakespeare is great for families, and would be a great way to introduce Shakespeare to children in a low-pressure, casual environment.”

“If Shakespeare were to time travel, I think he would be very at home at a Sweet Tea Shakespeare play. I’ve never had a theater experience quite like it; the great humor, rollicking music and consummate acting make each show very memorable. When I’m watching a Sweet Tea Shakespeare show I’m the happiest I’ve ever been since I moved to Fayetteville.”

“…’The Tempest’–perfect summer play, excellent cast, vibrant interpretation, lively music, good food, great crowd.”

“Best show every time. You’ll love it. Make plans to attend.”

“Such an amazing experience!! Perfectly executed!!!”

“If you didn’t understand Shakespeare when you were in high school, you’ll love the quality of entertainment, and gain an appreciation for this art form that you couldn’t get just reading it in English class.”

2019-2020 Season Audition Information

Sweet Tea Shakespeare will hold auditions for its 2019-20 season on Saturday, August 24, from 11:00am-4:00 pm at the Capitol Encore Academy at 126 Hay Street in Fayetteville, NC. Auditions are by appointment only. Enter TCEA off of Old Street at the back of the building.

To register for auditions, complete the audition form at There, you may upload a resume and headshot and may be scheduled based on an initial review. Actors outside traveling distance may submit a video audition.

Auditioners should prepare a memorized Shakespeare monologue of no more than 12-16 lines. If you sing, please prepare a song in a style that shows your strengths. You may be asked to sing acapella or with a guitar or piano. If you play an instrument, please bring it. You may also be asked to present selected cold readings from the plays, to participate in dance or movement work, and to answer brief interview questions.

As part of the STS experience, actors are expected to take part in activities such as musical entertainment prior to the show, during the show, and/or at intermission; other entertainments, such as juggling, dancing, etc; audience interaction, including selling merchandise, handing out programs, etc. before the show and at intermission; assisting with set up and strike of costumes, props, scenery, lighting, and sound equipment for each performance as part of a team; and assisting with marketing efforts.

STS artists positions for most shows are paid with very modest stipends and travel allowances as low as $100 up to Equity minimums. Behold is historically an all-volunteer effort, but some concessions may be made for the right people.

Please do not bring extra headshots or resumes. Please direct questions about auditions to or 910-420-4383, ext 700.

We seek actors who can share a strong sense of humanity, who are free or willing to learn to be free in their own bodies, and who work to get along well with others.

We seek musicians who can play almost any instrument, with special emphasis on guitar, bass (upright or electric), piano, mandolin, banjo, accordion, harmonium, trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, and cello.

We seek to cast shows in unconventional and just ways, and are especially delighted to consider artists of color, those uniquely abled, and others who are cast at the margins. Our main qualifications for casting are adept use of language and adept use of body, however those present themselves.

Opportunities include:


September 27- November 9th, 2019

REHEARSALS: Late August through September 26

Imagine that the writer and director and actors of Hamlet know the story they want to tell, but get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. Full of Shakespeare, drinking games, improv, lively music, and heart, our Lit series returns to visit HamLIT, a smash(ed) hit from our 2016 season. Adults only. A bold and irreverent brew with notes of tragedy balanced by uproarious hilarity.



December 4-14

REHEARSALS: Mid-November through December 3

Our annual Christmas concert returns, this time with a splash of Honey. Featuring the familiar gospel music that’s always at the heart of our Behold, our 2019 offering includes a special focus on the Mary story and the women of Sweet Tea Shakespeare (but dudes are around, too). Behold’s reputation as a reflective, stirring, and heartfelt Christmastime celebration always holds true. A warm and comforting seasonal blend.

** Seeking singers and musicians.


 by William Shakespeare

January 2-26, 2020

REHEARSALS: November 1-January 1, including split time between Raleigh (William Peace University area) and Fayetteville.

Shakespeare’s ultimate story of ambition, legacy, and evil, Macbeth tells the story of the would-be king of Scotland and his wife, who encounter witches, plot murders, and brew trouble on their way to the throne. Directed by actor, director, lyricist, and stage veteran KP Powell, this production marries the best of the hit Outlander series with Hamilton’s contemporary edge. School performances available for private, public, college, and home school audiences, complete with available workshops, study guides, and lesson plans for teachers. A bitter and powerful flavor redolent of ambition and betrayal. 

Rehearsals will take place in both Fayetteville area and Raleigh. Macbeth will include touring matinee weekday performances for schools, as well as, evening performances.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 by William Shakespeare

April 23- May 10, 2020 AND June 11-21 in Rep with Knight’s Tale

REHEARSALS: Early March-April 22

Shakespeare’s legendary comedy features lovers in trouble, mischievous fairies, and a troupe of well-meaning, but possibly incompetent actors. A huge hit with audiences, Sweet Tea’s production revisits the Victorian age, with production design inspired by Millais and a newly commissioned adaptation of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer suite — famous for wedding marches the world over — by Army musician and composer Owen Eddy. Part of the 2020 Shakespeare Comic Universe with Knight’s Tale. A light, summery spritz of love and mischief.


Knight’s Tale: Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen

 by William Shakespeare

June 4- 21, 2020

REHEARSALS: April 24-June 3

Inspired by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, this story follows the tale of two knights captured by Theseus, Duke of Athens, and their love for an inspiring woman of the court, Emilia. Trouble stirs when the daughter of their jailer falls in love with one of them and sets in motion a series of events that rocks the life of everyone involved. Both celebratory and serious, Knight’s Tale is a beautiful, visually inspiring, and sensory play. Part of the 2020 Shakespeare Comic Universe with Midsummer, characters from both plays will be performed by the same actors, and the June run will include special double features with both plays, a picnic, and our famous Sweet Tea party in between. A spicy blend of love and war, with a complex finish. 


Contact Jennifer Pommerenke at or by calling (910) 420-4383.