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From left, Mike Speck (MFA ‘05) and Nicholas Schell (MFA ‘08) perform during last year’s Bard in the Barn event. PHOTOS BY WIU VISUAL PRODUCTION CENTER
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Jared McDaris (MFA ‘10), Nicholas Schell (MFA ‘08) and Carolyn Blackinton (faculty) were part of last year’s Unrehearsed Shakespeare performances in rural Macomb.
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Annual WIU Shakespeare Event Moves to Campus for September Production

September 6, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – The annual Western Illinois University Shakespearean event, formerly known as "Bard in the Barn," is moving to campus for its Sept. 15 performances.

This year's plays, done traditionally in the Unrehearsed Shakespeare style, will be performed in the Ravine, an outdoor amphitheater north and east of Washington Hall on WIU's Macomb campus.

The event, renamed "Unrehearsed Shakespeare: Revels in the Ravine," will feature "As You Like It" at noon and "Anthony and Cleopatra" at 3 p.m. Performers will include WIU graduate and undergraduate students, alumni and friends of the performance style.

WIU Theatre and Dance Professor Bill Kincaid, who created the local event seven years ago, said "As You Like It" is one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies and that "Anthony and Cleopatra" is "Shakespeare's epic love story."

"It is filled with the kind of battle scenes that have become a trademark of Unrehearsed Shakespeare in Macomb," Kincaid said.

Both performances will showcase Unrehearsed Shakespeare performance techniques, which are based on the theories of Patrick Tucker and are influenced by the work of the New England Shakespeare Festival.

"Unrehearsed Shakespeare performances attempt to recreate what it may have been like for Elizabethan audiences and actors to experience the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries," Kincaid said. "The experience relies on a new understanding of the relationship between actors and audience and a deep appreciation of the clues hidden in an acting text, which allows the plays to be performed without rehearsal."

Original performances of Shakespeare's works had no time set aside for rehearsal; shows simply began appearing on the schedule. Because of safety concerns, any stage violence or group movement in the script is rehearsed immediately before the performance.

Before the Macomb performance, actors will receive scrolls with only their lines and cues on them. Props and costumes will also be kept to a minimum.

Kincaid said audience participation is encouraged during the performances.

"In a theatre that originally held large crowds of unruly people, plays were designed to communicate with all elements of that audience," he said. "In our 21st Century attempt to re-create that dynamic, actors are trained to be fearless and daring in their work."

Kincaid said the WIU festival provides a unique experience for the Macomb community and is an important component of WIU's Department of Theatre and Dance.

Admission is $7 for the public and $5 for students. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside to WIU's Hainline Theatre. Parking is available in the QE Lot, off Murray Street; the lot near Garwood and the Sherman Hall circle drive. Parking in the nearby L Lot is reserved and not available during the event.

For more information on the WIU Department of Theatre and Dance, visit

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