Q&A: Shakespeare performances coming to Municipal Brew Works in Hamilton this weekend

Pop-up-style performances by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Two Sketchy Dames, Kamikaze Fireflies, and Miami Valley Ballet Theatre are coming to bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys in and around Hamilton in March and April as part of “Fitton: Outside the Box!” a new, live performance series.

The first performance, “Bard on the Bar” presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, will be held on Saturday at Municipal Brew Works from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

We caught up with Angelique Archer actor, and tour manager at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in a Q & A to find out more about what audiences can expect from the performance.

Q: Can you give us a preview of what audiences can expect from the performance at Municipal Brew Works on March 13?

Angelique Archer: Audiences can expect to see a collection of monologues, scenes, and even songs from some of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays. It will be an afternoon of site-specific, intimate theater where actors and audience members, alike, will share a couple of drinks and laughs while enjoying snippets of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

A: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a resident ensemble theater company, founded in 1997, that brings Shakespeare and the classics to life for audiences, schools, and the residents of Ohio.

Q: Why did you want to partner with the Fitton Center and Municipal Brew Works to continue to bring live entertainment to the community?

A: The arts have always been a large part of what makes the city of Hamilton so remarkable, and the Fitton Center—being a part of the community for over 25 years—is a huge reason why. When Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was allowed to work with the Fitton Center, a staple of the Hamilton community, we knew that we had to say yes. And through our partnership with the Fitton Center and Municipal Brew Works to create Bard on the Bar, the audience will see Shakespeare performed in a new and innovative way, and hopefully, it will redefine the way you experience the arts in Hamilton.

Q: Why is it important to continue to find creative ways to bring arts to people in spite of the pandemic?

A: This pandemic has reminded us, now more than ever, that it is our connections that matter, our families, our friends, and our communities. That is what is important. Live theater celebrates communities: it brings people together. That is why people continue to come back to live theater, because there is something about being in the same room with the artists and sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience (because every night of a performance is unique) that is unlike anything else in this world. Theater gives us the space to come together—to leave our differences and troubles at the door—and for the next two or three hours, celebrate our community and bear witness to our own humanity.

Q: What are you most excited about as far as being able to offer this opportunity to the community?

A: We are so excited to be partnering with Municipal Brew Works to bring Shakespeare to this new location. We hope that this non-theatrical location invites people to come and enjoy the show, who might not come to our theater in Cincinnati, or people who might not like theater at all. We hope that this performance opens the doors for new people to experience the joy and wonder of Shakespeare’s works, and that it begins to foster in them a life-long relationship with the arts.

Q: Why would you encourage members of the community to be a part of this experience?

A: What is great about Bard on the Bar is that the site-specific nature of the performance allows for a more comfortable and easy-going theatrical experience. This will not be a three-hour performance at a bar where the audience will have to be silent the entire time. Instead, we are planning 10-to-15-minute sets, where audience members can sit down and enjoy a few pieces, and then when the set is over, they can get up and get another beer, or talk to the people at their table, or talk to the actors. The more relaxed nature of Bard on the Bar puts audience members in charge of their own theatrical experience.

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