City, Chautauqua Institution Announce Shakespeare At Allen Park Performances

From left, Julia Ciesla-Hanley, city recreation coordinator; John Williams, city parks manager; Vanessa Weinert, At-Large councilwoman and Chautauqua Institution marketing and analytics director; Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, Andrew Borba, Chautauqua Theater Company artistic director; and Sarah Wansley, Chautauqua Theater Company artistic associate, announcing that the theater company will perform Shakespeare in Allen Park this summer. The play “As You Like It” will be performed twice in the Goranson Band Shell at Allen Park starting at 7 p.m. June 28 and Aug. 15. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

City and Chautauqua Theater Company officials are taking the famous Shakespearean line “All the world’s a stage” literally.

On Monday, city and Chautauqua Theater Company officials announced that for the first time there will be two performances this summer of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at the Goranson Band Shell at Allen Park. “As You Like It” will be performed by the resident professional theater group at 7 p.m. June 28 and Aug. 15 at Allen Park.

Along with the two city performances, the Free Will: Chautauqua Shakespeare In The Park presentation of the 17th-century play will also take place at 5 p.m. June 24 at Bestor Plaza at the Chautauqua Institution; at 6:30 p.m. July 18 and Aug. 1 at Southern Tier Brewery; and at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Lakeside Park in Mayville. The Chautauqua Institution performance will be held on Sunday, which is free admission day, said Vanessa Weinert, At-Large councilwoman and Chautauqua Institution marketing and analytics director.

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi said Shakespeare being performed at Allen Park this summer is one of the “coolest” announcements he has been able to make during his 19 years as mayor. He said last year when city staff members John Williams, parks manager, Julia Ciesla-Hanley, recreation coordinator, and Matthew Hanley, executive assistant to the mayor, asked if it would be OK to perform Shakespeare in the park, the mayor said, “Hell yeah.”

Andrew Borba, Chautauqua Theater Company artistic director, said that was also his reaction when he discovered they would be performing Shakespeare at Allen Park and other outdoor venues. He said the production of the play the theater group will be performing has been shorten from the original and is about 90 minutes. He added that Shakespeare isn’t just for well-educated people, but is for everyone.

“It is the people’s medium. I can’t wait,” he said.

Weinert said this is a great opportunity for city residents because Shakespearean works aren’t always readily accessible in Jamestown.

“We’re turning gates into gateways,” she said.

Ciesla-Hanley said city officials were approached by Sarah Wansley, Chautauqua Theater Company artistic associate, last July about performing Shakespeare in Allen Park.

Teresi said during the two performances at the Goranson Band Shell, the Allen Park Women’s Club will be selling their traditional fare like they do during the Summer Band Concert series. City officials will announce the concert series schedule Wednesday, Ciesla-Hanley said.

“As You Like It” is a Shakespearean comedy about the journey through the Forest of Arden with rag-tag rebels, lovesick poets, witty clowns, spunky heroines and young lovers. For more information, visit ctcompany.org.

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