Lyric Theatre, Artistic Director, Gordon McCall, General Manager, Aina Adashynski, and the Lyric Theatre (SCDG) Board of Directors, are proud to announce the creation of The Great South West Shakespeare Festival.
Inspired by Mr. McCall’s years as the founder and first Artistic Director of Saskatoon’s Shakespeare On The Saskatchewan Festival, The Great South West Shakespeare Festival, will benefit from those formative experiences plus the renowned spirit and accomplishment of the Lyric Theatre Board, Staff and Volunteers, who have made the Lyric what it is today.
The Festival will launch its inaugural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on July 26, at 7:30 p.m. in a performance tent, courtesy of the Art Gallery of Swift Current, at its festival site in Riverside Park.
Offering six performances per week, the Festival will run for three weeks from July 26 until August 17, 2018. The final week of performances will run in conjunction with the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games, as part of the Games’ Cultural Festival. When asked about the partnership with the Games, Lyric Theatre Artistic Director, Gordon McCall stated, “We are excited to experience the launch of our event in conjunction with the cultural activities of the Games. It’s an honour. Special thanks to Denise Barbier, Games Manager, Robin Wall, Director Of Culture, Ceremonies and Protocol, and Erin Gehl, Sponsorship and Marketing Manager, and all of the Western Canada Games staff and volunteers. We are grateful to share this exciting journey with the Games.”
About The Great South West Shakespeare Festival, he went on to say: “As Shakespeare’s contemporary, Ben Jonson, said of him: ‘He was the Soul of the Age.’ In my opinion, he remains so to this day. No other playwright has spoken so eloquently and insightfully of the human condition. My experience with these great plays has shown me that they can be accessible to audiences of all ages and can provide timeless enjoyment and entertainment. Our festival will be focused on community, youth, and accessibility for audiences throughout the region and beyond.
"An ongoing, year-round educational component will be a major part of the festival’s contribution to the community. Our goal is to provide exciting productions of these great plays for people from all communities in our region of South West Saskatchewan, as well as North Dakota, Montana, Alberta, and audiences from Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, and beyond. Our hope is that visitors from far and wide will begin to make this event a tourism destination. While that is our hope and intention, first and foremost, we are focused proudly on our community of Swift Current and region, hence the name, The Great South West Shakespeare Festival.
"We are equally excited to partner with the Art Gallery of Swift Current. They will provide complementary interactive and visual arts experiences for the audience in the spirit of Shakespeare’s life and times. They are also providing the tent that will house all of the excitement during this first year of our existence.”
“The Lyric Theatre Board of Directors eagerly await the inaugural opening night of 'The Great South West Shakespeare Festival! We are so fortunate to have our Artistic Director, Gordon McCall, the founder and Artistic Director of the Saskatoon Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival, to bring this inspiration to the South West. This event will draw people to Swift Current year after year and show our love for culture & theatre.” noted Denise Wall, President, Board of Directors, The Lyric Theatre.
“The Great South West Shakespeare festival in Swift Current, Saskatchewan! We are so fortunate to have the Lyric Theatre and Artistic Director Gordon McCall. What a fabulous and engaging event this will be for our visitors and the folks who live here.” pointed out Kim Houghtaling, Director & Curator, Art Gallery of Swift Current.
“We are happy for the opportunity to build and forge a partnership that will bring The Great South West Shakespeare Festival to Swift Current. Much like Shakespeare’s character Tranio muses, “…strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends,” in the play The Taming of the Shrew. Our community too will have the occasion, of a reprieve from our day to day, to take in together as comrades and friends all that a Shakespearian festival will have to offer. By partaking in the inspiring panorama of Shakespeare’s works of tragedy, history, and comedy, one will be sure to have a good time.” added Mayor Denis Perrault, City of Swift Current.
"Our cultural program is an important component for the Games. We look forward to showcasing various local and regional talents and highlighting the unique culture of Saskatchewan through our Firelight Festival, partnerships with ongoing arts and cultural activities and collaborations with exciting new endeavors such as the Great South West Shakespeare Festival. Culture is such an excellent complement to sport. After all, sport and art are the two most universal languages we have!" stated Denise Barbier, Swift Current 2019 Western Canada Summer Games Manager.