We asked our community members to share with us what it has meant to them to be involved in Hampshire Shakespeare over the years. These are their answers:

Ben Tidswell (former Young Company member)

Ben rehearses for the 2013 Young Company production,

Ben rehearses for the 2013 Young Company production, Much Ado About Nothing
Photo Credit: Sam Eisenstein-Bond

Hampshire Shakespeare was always a magical place for me. From the first time I auditioned in the upstairs of the Renaissance center to the performance of Much Ado About Nothing, hearing far off bagpipes as people sang on stage and the stars came out. I was lucky enough to act with Hampshire Shakespeare twice, each time I got to meet new people and learn better how to act.The friendships I made have stuck with me into college, and I think they’ll last me far beyond. I’m always glad that I came together with so many people all interested in acting to put on these charming shows. I’ll remember those days for years to come.”

Kate Hare (local theater artist)

Kate performs with Cassandra Spadory and Meaghan Morris in the 2014 production of Comedy of Errors

“Working with Hampshire Shakespeare Company in 2014 was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in the theater. I had the pleasure of being cast in Comedy of Errors and I am extremely proud of the hard work put in by both the artists and the producers. HSC hired a brilliant director, who in turn cast talented and professional actors. The relationships I formed with the director, cast, and crew are invaluable and have already led to other work, and I have HSC to thank for that. The support we received from the Board and the producers was unlike anything I’ve experienced regionally or in New York. Most importantly, HSC’s commitment to consistently produce quality Shakespeare (and other Elizabethan works) is unparalleled by any other company in the Pioneer Valley. The tradition of outdoor Shakespeare is common across the world, but especially beautiful in the Valley surrounded by mountains at sunset. The bottom line is that HSC is necessary. It serves not only the audiences that have always adored it, but first time theatergoers and Shakespeare-hearers who may realize they’ve found a lifelong love.”

David Mix Barrington (actor and Board Vice President)

David performs with Amanda Jacobi in the 2014 production of Julius Caesar

“When my daughter Julia was five, she started acting in shows, and I rediscovered theatre.  In following her, I discovered a community with goals and values I shared.  Julia joined Hampshire Shakespeare as a flower child in a 60’s-themed As You Like It, and the next summer we both played country folk in The Winter’s Tale.  She went on to play Hermia and Laertes in Young Company shows, to work with Lucinda Kidder in teaching Shakespeare to city kids, and to serve as house manager for a season.  I went on to do a show or two every year, including two dream roles as Autolycus and Owen Glendower.  Now Julia is working toward a doctorate in Shakespeare at Boston University, and I’m doing what I can as an actor and a board member to put on our shows every summer. For me, Hampshire Shakespeare is family.”

Emily Tyburski (former Young Company member)

“As hard as it is to put into words what Hampshire Shakespeare means to me, I can begin by promising I’ve never had a theatrical experience quite like it. Hampshire Shakespeare not only gave me the ability to grow and learn as an actor, but as a person, also. I consider myself extremely privileged to have put on such great work with talented, enthusiastic, and beloved cast members. It is the best feeling in the world to have created such meaningful bonds with others, beginning with a common love of something like Shakespeare. With that, the friendships I have made here are friendships that I am certain will carry through everything; therefore, Hampshire Shakespeare will always hold a large piece of my heart.”

Hannah Simms (Young Company Director)

hannah pretentious

“My first fond memory of Hampshire Shakespeare involves a dirty face.  I was ten. The outlaws in Two Gentleman of Verona were being played by a crew of kids.  Not only were we allowed to run dirt on our faces as part of our make-up, we were encouraged to do so.  Some of us may have gone a teensy bit overboard.  I thought it was the greatest thing. This kind of playful creative freedom is still what I associate with Hamp Shakes.  When I directed for YC the first time, Winter’s Tale in 2011, I was walking around the grounds with Sean Landers, who was producer at the time.  Suddenly, I got a far-fetched idea.  “I can’t do this play in multiple locations, can I?” I said.  “I don’t see why not,” he said.  So we did.  Lots of people pitched in above and beyond the call of duty to make the idea work, and a crew of young people astounded me with their dedication and insight. One day, towards the end of lunch, we gave the actors a 5-minute call.  “We’re ready now,” someone said, and everyone else agreed, and all 25 of us headed back out to rehearse in the blazing sun of that second location. Hampshire Shakespeare embodies that all-important theatrical principal, the principal of “Yes!”.  Yes! A group of teenagers can bring to life a full-length Shakespeare play in only two weeks. Yes!  You can interpret this play or your character in a new way.  Yes!  Sure, you can pie Caesar in the face.  Go ahead. I don’t see why not.”

2 thoughts on “Testimonials

  1. We drove all the way from Canada on July 1st, 2016 to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We very much enjoyed the performance and had a lot of fun. Even though the performance took place indoors because of the weather, the venue is an amazing location, in a beautiful region!

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