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Montana Shakespeare In The Parks Postpones 2020 Season

In consideration of the health and safety of its audiences and artists during the coronavirus pandemic, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has announced it will postpone its 2020 season to 2021.

Organizers said that the two plays scheduled for this season, Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night’s Dream,

will be performed instead in 2021. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was to be performed in Faith Home Park in Wolf Point July 3.

Kevin Asselin, the company’s executive artistic director, said MSIP is preparing plans to fulfill its mission of delivering professional productions of Shakespeare plays to rural and underserved communities in alternate ways.

“Like so many theater companies across the nation, MSIP’s schedule will have to be dramatically altered in order to protect the health and safety of our community,” Asselin said. “However, we are determined to able to serve our mission. To that end, we are in preparations for a different kind of summer tour.”

Waded Cruzado, president of Montana State University, where the theater company is based, said that while the live summer Montana Shakespeare in the Parks performances will be missed, postponing was the right thing to do during the pandemic.

'We appreciate Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ efforts to share content with us in other ways, including the streaming of archived performances and lesson plans shared with students and teachers,” Cruzado said. “The show will go on — just in different ways.” In response to cancellations and postponements, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks began creating content for audiences of all ages under the title MSIP Live. That includes streaming archival recordings of some of the troupe’s recent plays on Facebook and YouTube every two weeks. Cast members of Montana Shakes!, the program’s troupe for elementary schools are sheltered in place together and have filmed a play, or Virtual Shakes, that has been distributed, along with lesson plans, to teachers and students online in collaboration with MontanaPBS. Classes that have received the play and workshops also have utilized private web-hosted talkbacks with the actors each school day. MSIP is also currently making content for sixth- to 12th-grade audiences at montana.pbslearningmedia. org.

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