Saskatoon

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company team up

The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival and the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company are teaming up to present Othello with a modern Saskatoon twist.

Festival to present Othello in partnership with the Saskatchewan Native Theatre

Daniel Knight from SNTC (left) and Will Brooks from Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan (right) (Rachel Bergen/CBC News)

The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival and the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company are teaming up to present Othello with a modern Saskatoon twist.

The play, which centres around themes of race, jealousy, love, and hatred will come from a First Nations perspective in the upcoming season.

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan announced Tuesday it will feature some Cree language integration and Manitoba Cree actor, Michael Lawrenchuk, as the lead. 

The artistic director of the festival and director of Othello, Will Brooks, believes the Bard's famous tragedy will fit well in a modern Saskatoon context.

The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival will feature a new seating configuration in their upcoming season. (Rachel Bergen/CBC News)
"That's the fantastic thing about Shakespeare's works," Brooks said. "They're so universal and they're so connected to our time and place, even though they're written so long ago, that we can do things with them that will feel fresh and brand new and innovative to our audiences."

It will be the first time in 25 years that the festival has showcased the tragedy.

According to Daniel Knight, who works in publicity at the SNTC, the company will help with the integration of Cree and artistic consultation. Three of the SNTC's emerging artists will also seek mentorships during the festival.

The partnership is especially exciting for Knight. He is an actor who trained at the SNTC.

"I'm excited this partnership is happening. Growing up, I always wanted to see Shakespeare in Cree performed by aboriginal actors," he said.

The festival also plans to reconfigure the arrangement of the stage and seating. This season, the audience will sit in a circle around the actors and get "up close and personal," Brooks said. 

The season runs from July 8 to August 23 and also features a performance of Much Ado About Nothing directed by Pamela Haig Bartley.

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