Ride a roller coaster of love, march toward war or brave the perils of the sea during this year’s performances of Shakespeare’s plays at Winedale.
A cast of students is spending two months — and 18 hours a day — studying The Bard’s work and bringing the plays to life in 24 performances throughout the summer.
Running through August 9, the 45th summer season of Shakespeare at Winedale includes performances of Twelfth Night, Henry V and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, in addition to Jon Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.
“The four plays we are doing this summer represent the four primary genres in which Shakespeare worked, and include one of the greatest plays of the period by one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, John Webster,” explains James Loehlin, director of the Shakespeare at Winedale program.
“Shakespeare at Winedale is a summer tradition that every Austinite must experience. Take a short trip to the small town of Winedale, just outside of Round Top, to see some of Shakespeare’s greatest works performed by a handful of talented students from the University of Texas.” —Editor’s pick review from Austin Monthly
Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the Shakespeare at Winedale Summer Class begins with individual study of texts, source materials, academic articles and criticism of Shakespeare’s work. Then, students travel to Winedale Historical Complex, where they live for two months while exploring the rich and complex stories though the creative act of play.
Students study the Bard’s plays for 15 to 18 hours a day, every day of the week, in preparation for 24 public performances of the plays and a two-week touring residency that wraps up the summer. Open to students of all majors, the performers have backgrounds in medicine, law, physics, music, theater, English and more.
Shakespeare at Winedale began in 1970 as a course in the English Department after well-known philanthropist Ima Hogg donated the land that is now the Winedale Historical Complex. Covered with pastures, woods and historic pioneer buildings, the property included an 1880s Germany hay barn.
Noting the barn’s resemblance to an Elizabethan theatre, Hogg suggested professor James Ayres use the space to teach Shakespeare. Nearly half a century later, Ayres is still helping students explore stage performance, push imaginations and learn about Shakespeare’s work.
Follow the 2013 Winedale cast throughout their summer experience and go behind the scenes during rehearsal, show time and day-to-day life on the this storied Texas ranch:
To help introduce the Bard of Avon to future Longhorns, the two-week Camp Shakespeare summer program helps students ages 11 to 16 explore and perform the plays. This year, Camp Shakespeare students will perform both As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Winedale Historical Center, one of the five divisions in the Briscoe Center for American History, is situated on 225 acres near Round Top, Texas. The museum fosters an understanding of Texas history and culture with research, teaching and public service.
In addition to summer Shakespeare performances, Winedale hosts an annual Christmas celebration, and invites students from elementary school through college to learn about history, anthropology, horticulture and theater.
During the 2014–15 academic year, the Briscoe Center completed a seven-figure renovation project at Winedale, thanks to a $1 million donation from Howard and Nancy Terry. The project included building a new cedar shingle roof on the Theater Barn and renovating the dormitory in which students live while performing throughout the Shakespeare at Winedale program.