Ark. Shakespeare Theatre offers fun for everyone

Published Tuesday, June 02, 2009

For the third year, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is offering its guests "a summer festival of serious fun."

According to artistic director Matt Chiorini, when the 2009 festival debuts June 10, it will offer a little something for everyone.


"Every year we try to offer something for everyone and at the same time offer something you can't get anywhere else," Chiorini said Monday.

Being the only company in the state to offer professional Shakespearean productions, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will present "Macbeth" and "Taming of the Shrew."

However, this season the theatre is offering even more outside of its annual Shakespearean selections, Chiorini said.

"It's also the only place in Arkansas you will see the Broadway smash 'The Producers' and we have a fantastic version of 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' for the kids," Chiorini said. "We also have extras like a father's day special, picnics and backstage tours. We are making it what we hope will be the most exciting three weeks anywhere in Arkansas this summer."

Chiorini said he is encouraging people to see a show this year because it's more than just something to do.

"They're going to have a great time because this isn't just entertainment you can flip on the TV and get entertainment," Chiorini said. "This is an event and an experience this is something they're going to remember and talk about and tell their friends about."

Chiorini also pointed out that those who buy tickets for the two Shakespeare show are not likely to be disappointed, as the same words have been entertaining audiences for centuries.

"It features plays that have been around for 400 years and still have something to say," Chiorini said. "These shows still can make an audience laugh or cry or cheer or be shocked and that is a great testament."

With a cast and crew of more than 70 half being local talent Chiorini said he knows this season will be the best Conway has seen.

"This season is leaps and bounds ahead of last year, which was leaps and bounds ahead of the first year, which was something a lot of people didn't think we could pull off," Chiorini said. "The quality of what we're putting on stage is something I'm getting more and more excited about."

Chiorini is not the only one who has taken notice of this year's quality, as the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre was recently profiled in the New York Times.

Chiorini said he was thrilled to be the only local theatre featured and added it was validating to be compared with some of the country's best.

"That doesn't mean someone in New York will hop on a plane to see a show, but I hope that tells people in Conway and Little Rock and Vilonia and everywhere else that we've got something really good here," Chiorini said. "If anyone has been waiting to come, they really need to buy a ticket this year and come see a show."

All productions will be held at the Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas. The season begins June 10 and ends June 28.

Tickets can be purchased online at, at the Reynolds box office on the UCA campus or by calling 450-3265.

(Staff writer Jessica Bauer can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at

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