Backstage at Burlington Student Theatre, 2014 Flounder Festival. The Shakespearience Group's inaugural production Fortune's Fools.
Miranda, Lauren, Marlene
Photo Credit: Skyla Baker
The Shakespearience Group was founded while working on a piece for Artistic Director, Lauren Shepherd's PhD research project in 2012/13. Their inaugural project, Fortune's Fool, became a fascinating story about relationships, bodies in time and space and their interaction with the experience of madness. It was an experimental adaptation of a number of Shakespeare's plays including but not limited to, Hamlet, The Tempest, Macbeth, Two Noble Kinsmen, King John, Twelfth Night and a few sonnets. It jumped into the realm of madness and female relationships and allow the audience to experience the words of Shakespeare in new and exciting ways.
From the beginning this dream company began with three strong, determined, and talented women; Lauren Shepherd, Miranda MacDonald-Butler, and Marlene Matos-Jones. This dynamic trio staged the inaugural performance of The Shakespearience Group's Fortune's Fools in the summer of 2014 at The Flounder Festival, hosted by Burlington Student Theatre. They continued to work together to create the means to run community programming in Burlington, ON. With a small partnership to Drury Lane Theatrical Productions Inc, The Shakespearience Group were able to offer a community based production of Twelfth Night for the 2015 season. They premiered a few scenes at The 2015 Flounder Festival, where audiences were amazed to discover that many of the actors on stage were performing Shakespeare for the first time!
It has always been a mandate of The Shakespearience Group to create an experience of Shakespeare for both the audience and actors alike. And to make that experience accessible to the wider community. They offered workshops to their cast members before rehearsals, and continue to support the cast scholastically throughout the process.