Baltimore Shakespeare Factory opens ambitious season with Romeo and Juliet

(Barbara Madison Hauck (Mercutio), Terry O’Hara (Tybalt) Photo by Will Kirk)

“This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,

May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

– from Romeo and Juliet

With the buds of every spring comes the promise of continuing growth.  That was certainly the case this past weekend as the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory kicked off its season with a production of Romeo and Juliet in a beguiling new venue.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory (BSF), which heretofore was something of a vagabond band, has settled into its new home at The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s on Roland Avenue in Baltimore.  The company, which prides itself on bringing the works of William Shakespeare to as broad an audience as possible, will be staging five productions this season.  These include Romeo and Juliet (April 6 – 26), Hamlet (July 12 – August 4), A Midsummer’s Night Dream (August 2 – 25 ) and The Tempest (November 8 – 17).

The actors are Brendan Edward Kennedy (Romeo) and Kathryn Zoerb (Juliet).
The actors are Brendan Edward Kennedy (Romeo) and Kathryn Zoerb (Juliet). (Photo by Will Kirk)

In keeping with tradition, BSF will stage most of its summer performances of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream outdoors at The Meadow at Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum & Library.  Chris Cotterman, the company spokesman, told the Baltimore Post-Examiner, “People are welcome to picnic at the outdoor shows.”

BSF productions (in a nod to the conventions of the Elizabethan stage) regularly feature women playing the parts of men and vise versa and employs the use of universal lighting, which allows the actors to engage with audience members.  The company also features adoptable dogs from the Baltimore Humane Society in every show.

The BSF has always been proactive in bringing Shakespeare to the greater Baltimore community.  In addition to expanding its outreach by offering programs in local schools and libraries, the company will once again offer an extensive weekly summer camp for elementary, middle, and high school students.

The “Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops” will allow students the opportunity to:

●          Work one-on-one with professional actors and educators.

●          Learn the same acting techniques Baltimore Shakespeare Factory uses in its productions.

●          Study Shakespeare’s poetic language that make it comprehensible and accessible for the novice actor.

●          Bring some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters to life!

Each week-long Performance Workshop will culminate with a full length presentation of Hamlet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

An exciting season is in the works at The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.  And as the weather warms, if you’re feeling puckish, what better way to enjoy your own midsummer night’s dream.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s production of Romeo and Juliet runs from now through April 27 at The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s, 3900 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, 21211.  Show days are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.  Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $20 for Adults and $15 for Students, Teachers and Seniors.  Admission is free for children Grade 5 and below.

Tickets and other information may be found here or by calling 410-921-WILL (9455).