The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Patrick Willingham) will take its MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT on tour again this July with a production of RICHARD III, directed by Amanda Dehnert. The three-week tour, July 16 to August 3, will bring free Shakespeare to audiences who have limited or no access to the arts before a sit-down run at The Public Theater, August 6-25. Tickets for Richard III at The Public are $15 and go on sale July 12.
Now in its second year, THE MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT is a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s Mobile Shakespeare program, which began in 1957 to bring Shakespeare to the masses, evolving into the New York Shakespeare Festival and ultimately becoming The Public Theater. THE MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT will present Shakespeare for free to prisons, homeless shelters, centers for the elderly, and other community venues throughout the five boroughs.
“The Public Theater was founded to bring Shakespeare to those who are excluded from the world of theater and culture,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Reviving The Mobile Shakespeare Unit is a vital part of continuing that great mission, to ensure that we are one nation, not a land divided into those who have access and those who don’t. Culture is a birthright, not a commodity.”
To further the mission and reach of THE MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT, 20 tickets for each performance of the run at The Public Theater in August will be given to community organizations that cannot host a visit from the tour.
THE MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT will also present educational workshops at selected venues it visits, expanding The Public Theater’s existing community outreach and education program. This program will represent a major expansion of The Public’s Shakespeare Initiative, and add to Shakespeare in the Park and Shakespeare at The Public a significant platform for The Public’s ongoing exploration of Shakespeare’s canon.
“Accessibility to Shakespeare is one of the core values of The Public Theater, and sending The Mobile Shakespeare Unit out into the community is one of the most important things we do,” said Public Theater Shakespeare Initiative Director Barry Edelstein. “Amanda Dehnert’s spare, muscular production of Richard III, with its talented ensemble supporting Ron Cephas Jones’s incendiary performance, will thrill the audiences we visit, and, we hope, whet in them an appetite for more of this great playwright’s work.”
The cast features Michelle Beck (Anne), Suzanne Bertish (Margaret), Keith Eric Chappelle (Hastings), Michael Crane (Buckingham), Lynn Hawley (Elizabeth), Alex Hernandez (Catesby), Miriam Hyman (Clarence), Ron Cephas Jones (Richard III), and Kevin Kelly (Edward).
RICHARD III features scenic and costume design by Linda Roethke with original music by Amanda Dehnert.
RICHARD III tells the story of one of Shakespeare’s most charismatic villains who cuts a scorched-earth swath through the politicos, power-mongers, and even family members who stand between him and the crown. But before King Richard III can enjoy the fruits of his ill-gotten gain, something stirs that freezes him in his tracks: conscience.