Columbia Children’s Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet offers modern twist for middle school and high school audiences

Columbia Children’s Theatre received a South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Education Project grant to help support this production.

Columbia Children's TheatreWhat happens when your star-crossed lovers carry cell phones, use iPads and sing 1960s love songs? You get Columbia Children’s Theatre’s Altered Visions Tour production of Romeo and Juliet, designed to appeal to middle school and high school students. Before launching its tour of schools in February, Columbia Children’s Theatre (CCT) will present this innovative 60-minute version of Shakespeare’s classic to the public on January 29, 30 and 31.

USC professor and former Globe Theatre intern Cathy Brookshire has helmed this updated, contemporarily conceived production since October when CCT received an Arts Education Projects Grant from the South Carolina Art Commission. The production uses six professional actors taking on all the roles with a modern twist. Arguably Shakespeare’s most famous play, Brookshire’s Romeo and Juliet is designed to fit into a typical high school block period and is conceived in a modern, accessible fashion to help high school students more easily grasp the language. Says Brookshire, “it’s what happens when we boil Shakespeare’s most iconic plays down to their bare essentials: six actors in 35 roles!” The two casts include George Dinsmore, Harrison Ayer, Kate Chalfant, Georgie Harrington, Mary Miles, Cole McFaden, Taylor Diveley, Frances Farrar, Evelyn Clary, Marcus Moore and Andy Nyland. Each of the two casts will perform twice during the in-house launch January 29-31 and flow in and out during the upcoming tour. The show also features an original soundscape by Toni Moore.

Teachers and educators who book the production will receive S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) focused, arts-infused lesson plans for non-arts teachers to incorporate into their curriculum using Romeo and Juliet as a launching pad. Schools interested in having the production at their school can contact CCT Artistic Director Jerry Stevenson at or (803) 691-4548.

Show times for the public kick-off are Friday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 31 at 3:00 p.m. The special “sneak peek” admission rate for this production is $5 regular admission and $3 for active military and seniors with proper ID. Tickets may be purchased securely online at  South Carolina educators and arts administrators with proper ID will receive free admission to any of the performances. The production is recommended for ages 12 and up. All shows take place at Columbia Children’s Theatre, 2nd level of Richland Mall, 3400 Forest Drive, Columbia, S.C.

Columbia Children’s Theatre is a professional resident not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing quality live theatre experiences for families and young audiences and is supported in part by the City of Forest Acres, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Via: Columbia Children’s Theatre