Shakespeare Exploded Guide: Welcome

Artistic Director Diane Paulus introduces the Shakespeare Exploded! festival

Welcome to Shakespeare Exploded!

I’m Diane Paulus, the new Artistic Director at the A.R.T. in Harvard Square. Welcome to our Shakespeare Exploded! festival, a group of vibrant theatrical adventures inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.  This festival invites you to experience theater like never before--to get up and dance with sparkling disco divas, to sing along with a forty-person gospel choir, and to create your own adventure as you wander through a mysterious theatrical installation. Start your Shakespeare Exploded! experience now by reading the following articles about each production, interviews with artists, and updates on our exciting new venues.

The Donkey Show debuts OBERON, our new performance venue at 2 Arrow Street. Set in a disco club, The Donkey Show tells the story of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream through the great dance anthems of the 1970s.  Come with all your friends and boogie on the dance floor.

October brings Sleep No More, a visceral adventure theater experience co-created by the renowned London-based troupe Punchdrunk.  For Sleep No More, we have transformed an old schoolhouse close to Brookline Village into a world inspired by Macbeth and Hitchcock’s thrillers. Explore all four floors of this supernatural environment and then share a drink with your friends at the on-site bar.

Celebrate the holiday season with Best of Both Worlds, a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.  Staged in Harvard Square at the Loeb Drama Center, this show breathes new life into Shakespeare’s miraculous story of redemption and forgiveness through the power of R&B and gospel music. The production will feature a rotating roster of Boston’s most celebrated gospel choirs.

If you want to brush up on your Shakespeare before coming to Best of Both Worlds, make sure to catch the one-weekend-only production of The Winter’s Tale staged by Elliot Norton award-winning director David Gammons.  In December, Marcus Stern (director of the A.R.T.’s sold-out productions of The Onion Cellar and Donnie Darko) will stage Hamletmachine, Heiner Müller’s landmark adaptation of Hamlet.

Whether you’re a Shakespeare scholar or a disco diva, this festival will take you on incredible journeys. I hope to see you in the theater, at the schoolhouse, and on the dance floor.

Diane Paulus

A.R.T. Artistic Director

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