Photo by Flickr user Hash Milhan
With the famed playwright and poet’s 400th anniversary upon us, devoted followers of William Shakespeare’s timeless works will find themselves hunting for an opportunity to celebrate England’s (and perhaps one of the world’s) most famous authors. Memphis certainly won’t be dropping the ball on the festivities, with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Rhodes College, and University of Memphis all providing various performances, lectures, and other events throughout the year. The Spring calendar is full of exciting events for Memphians, so be merry as the day is long with these fine celebrations of the Bard of Avon’s legacy!
March 14th, 7:30 p.m.; Rhodes College, Hardie Auditorium
Step onto Rhodes Campus next week to sample a set featuring a Shakespearian ensemble. The Luna Nova Ensemble is an organization dedicated to supporting the education of musicians and listeners, and to promoting music throughout educational institutions. Their concerts comprise classics from the twentieth century, pieces by established musicians, or sets from upcoming composers. The Rhodes college performance will feature Flute Fantasies by German composer Georg Philipp Telemann coupled with narrations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Admission is free to the public.
March 29th, 7:30 p.m.; Meeman Center, Rhodes College
The Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning encourages a continued liberal arts education well into adulthood by covering a vast range of topics. Here Lies Shakespeare, led by esteemed Rhodes Professor Scott Newstok, will focus on the year 1616, that of Shakespeare’s death and several other momentous social and scientific occasions. The main focus will be on poetic responses to Shakespeare’s death and his oft-explored theme of mortality, featuring works by Ben Johnson and John Milton. Admission is $45.
April 7th, 7:30 p.m.; The Beethoven Club
In early April, Opera Memphis will give its own tribute to the famed poet. The Opera’s Bass-Baritone, Dan Mobb, will lead the audience on a grand tour of Shakespeare-inspired opera that encompasses the full range of lyrics, stories, and characters that have enthused audiences for centuries.
April 8th-24th (Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.); Theatre Memphis
Laugh yourself into stitches in a parody for the ages. Theatre Memphis entertains with a three-man show that breaks down the fourth wall and explores some of the finer moments of the Bard’s comedic portfolio. Audience participation, improvisation, and pop culture references are par for the course in this performance and are sure to entertain even anyone unfamiliar with the source material. Adult tickets are $25, while students and children under 11 are $15.
April 20th, noon-1 p.m.; Dixon Gallery & Gardens
As part of the Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ Munch and Learn series, come out and enjoy lunch while learning about one of the greatest authors in history. Experts, Dixon staff, and the Tennessee Shakespeare Company will explore Shakespeare’s art of performance during a pleasant lunch hour in the gardens. Normal museum admission pricing applies, but students and members are free.
April 21st, 7:30 p.m.; April 23rd, 3:00 p.m.; Harris Concert Hall, University of Memphis
University of Memphis Opera performs German composer Nicolai’s Opera adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Set in the time frame of “Henry IV,” the tale follows the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, who arrives in Windsor penniless and schemes to court two wealthy married women. Marriage, jealousy, social status, wealth, and love take center stage in this Shakespearean opera. $20 General Admission, $15 for seniors. Free to students, faculty, and staff of the University.
April 23rd, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Benjamin Hooks Central Library
The Benjamin Hooks Central Library hosts its 6th Annual Bookstock Festival, featuring a lineup of more than 40 great local authors happy to share their work, talk about the writing process, and provide tips to aspiring writers. To keep with the Shakespearean theme, there will be a marathon of Shakespeare’s sonnets read aloud. In addition, Thomas Christensen, author of 1616: The World in Motion, will discuss what life was like in Shakespeare’s time. The Festival provides a bevy of other activities for the whole family, including face painting, a scavenger hunt, live music, and food trucks.