Shakespeare and Yellow Springs

Antioch bookplate design M-84

Antioch bookplate design from 1941 by Isobel Sarvis

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday being more or less today, it’s a good time to reflect on how often his work has appeared in Yellow Springs through the years.

If Shakespeare speeches broke apart into atoms and settled on the ground, Yellow Springs gardeners would undoubtedly have soil of unusual richness.

Wherever a theater was active, Shakespeare was there, either in productions (The Opera House, Yellow Springs Center Stage, Yellow Springs High School, Antioch College) or in the the influence of personnel (John Fleming, Louise Smith).

The "rude mechanicals" from the first Yellow Springs Center Stage's 1983 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

The “rude mechanicals” from the first Yellow Springs Center Stage’s 1983 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There has been a Shakespeare Study Club, originally a project of Antioch faculty wives, in continuous existence for over 100 years.

One of the benefits of the renovation of the Little Art Theatre has been the ability to show rebroadcasts of live Shakespeare productions (including the upcoming one of King Lear in late May) by England’s National Theatre.


Shakespeare Festival poster

Shakespeare Festival poster

Of course the Antioch Shakespeare Festival , aka “Shakespeare under the Stars,” was the epitome of dedication to Shakespeare, with Shakespeare’s entire known dramatic oeuvre being produced over five years starting in 1952, and involving all ages of “town and gown’. The Antiochiana archives at the Olive Kettering Library at Antioch College has a collection of material covering the development and history of the festival.

James Rose Shakespeare puppets

James Rose Shakespeare puppets “resting” backstage

James Rose has used his experience at the Festival and his puppeteering heritage to develop his Shakesperean puppets.

With so many Shakespeare projects and influences throughout the town’s history it is unlikely that this post is a comprehensive listing, and readers are invited to add what might have been omitted in the comments section.

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One Response to Shakespeare and Yellow Springs

  1. Judy rose says:

    Thanks so much Becky . Judy R

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