Shakespeare’s Audiences are Still Lit!

Written by Jessie Wise, Company Wright

I’ve always loved Shakespeare, but despite earning my bachelors degree in Theatre Arts Education and my masters degree in Theatre History and Criticism, outside of classwork I had never had the chance to really get involved with the plays. After losing my theatre teaching position due to budget cuts, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to get back to the theatre game. Early this year, I spotted an ad in the local paper for auditions for Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s summer shows and knew I had to take the leap to get back involved. One play later, I now am stepping further into this wonderful theatre community to help with some writing and dramaturgical projects. I look forward to the opportunity to share just why I love Shakespeare. 

As Sweet Tea Shakespeare prepares to bring HamLit to the stage this fall, I’ve been thinking about all the ways Shakespeare’s writing remains relevant to today’s audiences. While there is much to be said for how the Bard captures humanity in his works (a blog for another day), I have also been considering how though times have changed from the Elizabethan era, the audience’s needs remain the same. 

Shakespeare’s original audiences came to the open air theatre of the Globe to see a performance and received an experience similar to the sports events of today. They ate,drank, and had the freedom to move about. Those in the floor section, often referred to as the groundlings, could move closer to the stage for a better view. 

This is very much a practice we believe in at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. We provide food and beverage offerings for sale. We have a “sit where you will” and “move as you need” policy, allowing audience members to find explore new perspectives by moving around the seating area, and also acknowledging that humans need movement. 

The atmosphere is akin to what you find at today’s breweries. Grab a beer. Visit the food truck. Pick a seat. Spot a friend. Switch seats to sit with them. Grab another beer. This is what you’ll find as Sweet Tea Shakespeare brings HamLit to local bars and breweries this fall. We hope to see you there! 

Come Join Us for HamLIT!

Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s LIT series is going back to its roots with a return to the original installment of the LIT series: HamLIT. It’s the tragedy of the Danish prince paired with improv comedy, live music, and drinking games for an evening of Shakespeare, distilled. We are so excited to bring this fan favorite back to our audiences this fall.

HamLIT is directed by Taj Allen, Traycie Kuhn Zapata, and Nathan Pearce.  

The show will be performed at several venues throughout the region:

Friday, Oct. 4 & Friday, November 1 | Arts Council

Thursday, October 10 | Dirtbag Ales

Friday & Saturday October 18-19 and Friday & Saturday November 8-9 | Hugger Mugger Brewing, Sanford

Friday, October 11 , Thursday, October 24th & Saturday, October 26th | Paddy’s

Sunday, October 13 | Fainting Goat Fuquay-Varina

Sunday, October 27th | Fainting Goat Benson

All shows are preceded by our What You Will musical preshow. Food will be available for purchase. 

To see HamLIT in action, get your tickets at sweetteashakespeare.com. 

Crash Course on Timon of Athens

Before settling down on a lawn chair or quilt to watch Green Tea’s production,Timon of Athens, here’s a quick overview of the plot. 

The play opens with the introduction of Timon- a kind aristocrat in Athens with a severe spending habit. When Timon finds himself confronted with debts, his steward, Flavius, can do little more than tell him that he is bankrupt. Timon then sends his servants to ask his friends for help, only to find that no one will lend him money to repay his debt. In a rage, Timon invites them all to one last feast, severing the main dish- stones and warm water. After this, Timon denounces his former friends and all of mankind. 

Meanwhile, Alcibiades, a captain of Athens, has been pleading against a death sentence given to one of his men. For his persistence, the Senate banishes Alcibiades. Despising the Senate for banishing him, Alcibiades decides to turn his army against Athens in revenge and hears about Timon who has left Athens to live as a hermit. 

Timon, looking for food in the wilderness, finds a hidden stash of gold. Alcibiades finds Timon and tries to befriend him by offering him money. When Timon hears of Alcibiades’ plan to destroy Athens, Timon gives Alcibiades gold to pay his men and march to Athens. Timon even sends away his former steward, Flavius, although with gold in his pockets and more kindness than he has shown to anyone else. 

Alcibiades arrives at the gates of Athens. The senators attempt to defend the city, explaining that not everyone in Athens insulted Alcibiades and Timon, and they ask that Alcibiades come into the city in peace. 

To find out how Alcibiades acts once in Athens, come to see Green Tea’s production of Timon of Athens under the stars, August 21-23. Get your tickets to see the play in action at sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets. 

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 http://www.sweetteashakespeare.com/auditions. 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 artistic@sweetteashakespeare.com 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:

HamLIT

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.

ALL ROLES AVAILABLE.

Behold

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.

Macbeth

 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.

ALL ROLES AVAILABLE.

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.

ALL ROLES AVAILABLE.

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. 

QUESTIONS?

Contact Jennifer Pommerenke at gm@sweetteashakespeare.com or by calling (910) 420-4383.

Back for Another Party with Green Tea

Sweet Tea Shakespeare Presents Timon of Athens 

Green Tea, Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s youth company, is excited to present Timon of Athens, a tragicomedy of friendship and greed. 

One of Shakespeare’s lesser-performed plays, Timon, is a breathtaking and heartbreaking story of foolishness, friendship, and loyalty. Timon, a lord of Athens, spends money wastefully on friends who quickly abandon him once financial ruin hits. Only the most loyal of his friends and confidants stick around, even as Timon descends into destitution and a life as a hermit. An exceptional exploration of love, grace, and persistence, Timon features Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Green Tea youth company. Starts bright and carefree, with notes of friendship; finishes dark, with greed and its aftermath. 

Directed by Jen Pommerenke & Traycie Kuhn-Zapata, Timon of Athens will be performed August 21 at Carleen’s of Hope Mills at the Moulder-Warner Home and August 22-24 at the 1897 Poe House. 

The performances will begin at 7:30pm with our famous What You Will Preshow 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Tickets are Pay What you Will, $10-$50.

Performances will be presented in the garden of the 1897 Poe House (801 Arsenal Avenue, Fayetteville)  and Carleen’s of Hope Mills at the Moulder – Warner Home (5703 Rockfish Rd, Hope Mills, NC). Poe House performances will have food available for purchase, as well as tea, craft beer, and wine. Outside food and drink are not permitted.

For outdoor performances, audience members should bring their own seating or choose from rental chair and quilt seating options. Indoors, seating will be provided, along with an optional rental seat cushion. All rental options are subject to availability.

Parking is available at all venues. The 1897 Poe House offers limited street parking, with additional parking available across the MLK Freeway, at Arsenal Park.

Changes due to inclement weather will be announced on Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s website and Facebook page.

Purchase tickets at sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets. 

For more information, call 910-420-4384 or email info@sweetteashakespeare.com.

Our 2019-2020 Season

Sweet Tea Shakespeare is excited to announce our 2019-2020 season, A Season of Spirits, in which we will present a tragicomedy of friendship and greed, a rollicking return to our LIT roots, a seasonal tradition with a new vision, a sprightly story of fairies, fickleness, and fancy, and a robust tale of love and war. Dates and locations are subject to change, including added dates.

Timon of Athens

(a Green Tea youth company production)

William Shakespeare

August 22-24, 2019

1897 Poe House

One of Shakespeare’s lesser-performed plays, Timon is a breathtaking and heartbreaking story of foolishness, friendship, and loyalty. Timon, a lord of Athens, spends money wastefully on friends who quickly abandon him once financial ruin hits. Only the most loyal of his friends and confidants stick around, even as Timon descends into destitution and a life as a hermit. An exceptional exploration of love, grace, and persistence, Timon features Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Green Tea youth company. Starts bright and carefree, with notes of friendship; finishes dark, with greed and its aftermath.

 

HamLIT

Friday, Oct. 4 & Friday, November 1

Arts Council

Thursday, October 10

Dirtbag Ales

Friday & Saturday October 18-19 |   Friday & Saturday November 8-9

HuggerMugger

Friday, October 11  | Thursday, October 24th & Saturday, October 26th

Paddy’s

Sunday, October 13

Fainting Goat @ 6pm FV

Sunday, October 27th

Fainting Goat @ 6pm Benson

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.

 

Behold

December 5-7, 12- 14

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Methodist University

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.

 

Macbeth

William Shakespeare

Directed by KP Powell

January 2-26, 2020

January 2-5, January 9-12 &  January 16-19

Vizcaya Villa | Fayetteville, Nc

January 14 & 15

Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC

January 23- January 26

William Peace University | Raleigh, NC

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.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

April 23-26, 2020

Fayetteville State University

April 30- May 3 and May 7-10

1897 Poe House at The Museum of the Cape Fear

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

William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s The Two Noble Kinsmen

June 4-21, 2020

1897 Poe House

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.