• Print

Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Announces Eighth Season of Plays and Education Programs:

Celebration 400

(Memphis, TN, September 1, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South’s professional classical theatre, today announced its 2015-16 performance season, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with a celebration of plays, readings, salons, feasts, and extensive programming for children.

TSC continues its cultural/educational partnerships with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance and with Dixon Gallery & Gardens.  Full productions of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well (Dixon) and Henry V (UofM) will feature professional, AEA casts from around the country and Memphis.

The Company also partners with the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club to feature three weeks of feasts and two-hour readings of Shakespeare plays that TSC has not yet produced.  The Southern Literary Salons continue in September with a focus on Harper Lee, and in February spotlighting Ernest Hemingway in Key West.  The Seventh Annual Shakespeare Gala at Germantown Performing Arts Center moves to April to commemorate Celebration 400 during the month of the 400th anniversary.

Running concurrently with the performance season are the expanded offerings of TSC’s Education and Outreach Department.  These include a newly-authored schools show touring the southeastern U.S., student matinees, playshops and residencies, expanded Summer camps, and the recently-trademarked Romeo and Juliet Project™ literacy/non-violence residency.

“William Shakespeare’s private and public lives and loves as well as his development as a father and husband are given clear form in his plays,” says Dan McCleary, TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director.  “Rather than attempt to highlight what is rote fact and tantalizing mystery in his life story, we find ourselves inspired by Shakespeare’s career-long exploration of redemption.  It has attendant angels in grace, forgiveness, and heroism, but what has become moving to me in the last seven years is discovering that it wasn’t only in his final Romances that Shakespeare focused on redemption.  He was dreaming and writing about it his whole life.  So we commemorate his life in our eighth season with the act of redemption in mind and at heart.”

TSC’s Season Sponsors include Arts Memphis, Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund, Nancy Copp, FedEx Corporation, Independent Bank, International Paper, Rose M. Johnston, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Jr., Milton T. Schaeffer, Margaret and Owen Tabor, Ann and Wellford Tabor, Tennessee Arts Commission, and The University of Memphis.

TSC’s Season Partners are Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, and The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.


The Southern Literary Salons

Each Salon is a literary party from 6:00-8:00 pm featuring writer-specific libations, light fare, music, and 30 Southern-inspired minutes of influential writers in a private, gracious home.  Tickets are $55 for one Salon or $100 for both, and include the entertainment, open bar, and fare.


Harper Lee’s Alabama Mystery

Friday, September 25
Hosted by Anne and Andy McCarroll in their beautiful Germantown home

The recent release of Ms. Lee’s source material (Go Set a Watchman) for To Kill a Mockingbird is arresting both in its character of Atticus Finch and how the writer could so radically re-imagine the story through flashbacks dating 20 years earlier.  Lending national compassion to our mid-20th Century racial challenges, Mockingbird and its Alabama author inspire even deeper consideration when we hear the words that came both before and after the book’s Pulitzer Prize-winning publication in 1960.


Ernest Hemingway in Key West

Friday, February 26, 2016
Sponsored by Tom’s BBQ

Hosted by Melia and Drew Murphy inside and outside their gracious Germantown home

Hemingway and his new bride took up residence for much of the 1930s in Key West.  There, he entered a period of experimental writing that would install him as one of the most influential American voices to this day.  In his guest house overlooking his in-ground pool (the first in the Keys) he worked on For Whom the Bell Tolls, Green Hills of Africa, Death in the Afternoon, A Farewell to Arms, Winner Take Nothing, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.  The southern climate also pervades his steaming To Have and Have Not and his biographical Islands in the Stream.


400: The Shakespeare Feast

Join TSC for dinner, drinks, and Shakespeare from page to stage in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s passing.   Six brief readings of plays TSC has not yet produced are preceded by a special buffet dinner/brunch at the historic and elegant Memphis Hunt & Polo Club (650 S. Shady Grove Road, Memphis).  Some of your favorite TSC actors return to the Club stage to act the plays from Shakespeare’s First Folio.  The cash bar will be open.  Your inclusive ticket (except for bar) is $57.  Host members: Margaret and Owen Tabor.

Love’s Labor’s Lost

directed by Dan McCleary
Thursday, October 22
6:00-9:00 pm with dinner buffet

Shakespeare’s comedic “feast of language” follows the King of Navarre and three young men who make a pact to remove themselves from the city and women in favor of nature and scholarly study.  Then the Princess of France and her three young women show up…

Much Ado About Nothing

directed by Stephanie Shine
Sunday, October 25
12:00-3:30 pm with brunch buffet

The merry war between Benedick and Beatrice is sophisticated, smart, yet undercut by their inability to express their love for one another.  Shakespeare’s comedy also features the famous Watch, captained by the malapropping Dogberry.

The Tragedy of King Richard II

directed by Stephanie Shine
Thursday, October 29
6:00-9:00 pm with dinner buffet

Marking the beginning of the Wars of the Roses, the tragedy has been inflammatory, given to political censorship, and always highly praised for possessing some of the most beautiful passages in the canon.  Is Richard a tragic king or an incompetent leader?

The Merry Wives of Windsor

directed by Dan McCleary
Sunday, November 1
12:00-3:30 pm with brunch buffet

Queen Elizabeth desired to see the fat knight Falstaff, of the Henry IV plays, in love, and Shakespeare supposedly penned this riotous work in a fortnight.  Quite possibly our first situation comedy.


directed Dan McCleary
Tuesday, November 3
6:00-9:00 pm with dinner buffet

With his mother recently deceased and the poor and hungry of London demanding corn, Shakespeare pens perhaps his final tragedy in a burst of white light of powerful verse with an unyielding yet tender tragic hero – an embodiment of the new Republic’s war machine that would later succumb to humanity.

The Comedy of Errors

directed by Stephanie Shine
Sunday, November 8
12:00-3:30 pm with brunch buffet

Shakespeare’s shortest, earliest, and wildest comedy, Comedy is a beautifully balanced commedia piece with pleasing rhymes, delightful rhythm, and a family restoration which inexplicably includes two sets of twins that is undeniably heartening.


The Shakespeare Productions

All’s Well That Ends Well

by William Shakespeare
in honor of Barbara B. Apperson
directed by Dan McCleary
sponsored by Margaret & Owen Tabor; Rose M. Johnston; Virginia Apperson & Pete Williams; John & Chip Apperson; John and Katherine Dobbs; Independent Bank; The McClearys
December 10-20
at Dixon Gallery & Gardens

Shakespeare’s miracle play uniquely features a young girl in the vaunted hero’s role typically assigned to the valiant young man.  Daughter to a recently-deceased and famous physician, Helena, in communication with her better stars, finds she is able to heal death, forgive man, and perhaps even redeem humanity.  In the mystery of life, not everything will make practical sense.  Sometimes, we need a little magic, a little miracle, a little deception, a “little Helen.”  And as this is the season of Solstice, Miracle, and Light, let’s embrace the mystery.  At 10 minutes prior to each performance, Dan McCleary will speak with the audience about the play and playwright.

Henry V

by William Shakespeare
in memory of Dan Copp
in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance
sponsored by FedEx, Ann and Wellford Tabor, Ernest and Pat Kelly, and the University of Memphis
June 9-19, 2016
at the University of Memphis

Shakespeare’s rousing history crowns both young King Henry V as a warrior Legend and his rationale for waging war as a haunting moral ambiguity.  In his youth, young Hal spent his days in a band of pick-pockets led by the derelict fat knight Falstaff.   But having successfully defended his father-King in their country’s civil war, now King Henry decides France is his to take.  He conquers superior numbers abroad with soaring orations and wins a princess without a tongue for French.  But at what cost?  At 10 minutes prior to each performance, Dan McCleary and/or the director will speak with the audience about the play and playwright.


The Party!

The Seventh Annual Shakespeare Gala

Friday, April 8, 2016
sponsored by TSC’s Board of Directors
Germantown Performing Arts Center
6:00 pm

You get the best dinner buffet, the best Broadway entertainment, multiple open bars, the most fun live auction in the city, plus the knowledge that you are celebrating for a great cause: Tennessee Shakespeare Company!  This year’s party celebrates the life of our namesake on stage and then brings you, in person, one of the most talented performers on Broadway today.  Prices for ten-ticket sponsorships remain the same as the last four years.  Purchase yours now to reserve the best seats and to help TSC remain vibrant and healthy.  Attire: semi-formal and cocktail.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please call Stephanie Shine at 901-759-0620.

The Education and Outreach Programs

TSC’s education mission is to move the arts closer to the center of every child’s learning experience. We engage students of all ages in the stories, language, and human revelation inherent in Shakespeare's plays. 

The Romeo and Juliet Project

presented by Nancy Copp and Jack & Sandra Jones
with additional school-specific funding provided by Anne & Andy McCarroll, Sara Savell, The Poplar Foundation, and the Friends of Mary Mulherin
September 28 – March 18, 2016

This nationally-acclaimed residency uses Romeo and Juliet, its characters, and its many pivotal decision moments as tools for students to imagine and rehearse life-saving choices in the face of armed violence, peer pressure, prejudice, and inadequate guidance.

Lend Me Thy Sword! Foils, Fisticuffs & Funny FUNNY Bits

Touring the southeastern U.S.
September 28 - June 26, 2016

In this lightning-quick, 45-minute touring show, two actors delve into the physical world of Shakespeare, performing both the dangerous combat and hilarious slapstick from scenes filled with conflict and comedy.


Student Matinees of All’s Well That Ends Well

Run extended but sold out.


Romeo and Juliet

In this urgent, 90-minute, in-school performance, eight intrepid actors create rage-filled Verona using students’ imaginations and Shakespeare’s brilliant words.  Shakespeare’s funniest and most heartbreaking play tours the Greater Memphis Area in October and November.


Playshops and Residencies

Multiple, specifically-crafted playshops are available during the 2015-16 school year.
Teaching-artists catapult Shakespeare’s text off the page and into the hearts, bodies, minds, and mouths of students.


Summer Camps

Young players will enjoy learning multiple disciplines for the stage that will lead them to an active appreciation and understanding of the world of Shakespeare's plays.  Three camps for multiple age groups, including adolescents and teens:  June 6 - July 1, 2016, at The Hutchison School.

For bookings and more information, please contact Education Manager Cara McHugh at education@tnshakespeare.org or (901) 759-0620.


Box Office Information

General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located within The Shops at Forest Hill at 3092 Village Shops Drive, Germantown, TN 38138 (near Target); by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org (Twitter: @tnshakespeare).

Tickets for Shakespeare plays are $34. Tickets for Shakespeare Preview performances are only $16.  All Thursday night Shakespeare performances are Free Will Kids’ Nights:  Children 17 years and younger are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending Guardian.  Senior tickets (62 years and older) are $29, and Student tickets (18 years and older) are $16 for any Shakespeare performance.  Dixon members receive 20% off all All’s Well That Ends Well performances (no other discounts may apply).  Opening nights for All’s Well and Henry V include a complimentary post-show reception with the actors.  Tickets for the Literary Salons, 400: Shakespeare Feast, and the Gala are priced separately.  Performances are general admission; first come/first seated.  Free parking.  No refunds or exchanges.  Credit card charges require a $1 per-ticket fee. Plays, casts, and schedules are subject to change with notice.