Stock Up on Shakespeare

Summer stock theater goes classical

By Olivia Gunn

the modified words of William Shakespeare: All of Maine’s a stage, and all Mainers are merely players. All right, maybe not so much, but this summer we can look forward to a ton of Shakespeare as summer stock theater takes center stage.

To celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (imagine that bar tab), two prominent playhouses—Theater at Monmouth (TAM) and MaineStage Shakespeare in Kennebunk—will be presenting Shakespeare and other English classics this season. In the early 1920s, New England began opening its stage doors to up-and-coming talent as resident theaters produced annual summer stock productions. The term “summer stock” refers to the reuse of costumes, props, sets, lighting, etc., during the warm weather, which naturally beckons outdoor performances.

As part of its summer run, “British Invasion,”
Theater at Monmouth will party like it’s 1594 in their 45th season as “The Shakespearean Theatre of Maine.” As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet are the chosen Shakespeare works along with Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance and Joe Orton’s farce, What the Butler Saw.

“Our mission is to present innovative approaches
to Shakespeare and other classic literature,” says Dawn McAnderson, Artistic Director. In doing so, TAM will take its audiences through several eras and styles.

TAM’s productions provide actors the opportunity to explore every layer of a Shakespearean play from design, to costume, and setting. “(The actors) get to play in four or five different period styles in a summer,” explains McAnderson. “That really stretches their experience in terms of working with different fabrics, designers, (and) different ways of building.”

Lindsay Tornquist, an actress who hails from Chicago, will join TAM for the season and looks forward to a break from the city hustle to “fully immerse” herself in her roles as Juliet and Celia. “I have a special place in my heart for Shakespeare,” says Tornquist. “As an actor it’s like doing the triathlon of acting. You have to have the stamina to perform such extravagant things like sword fighting, deaths, the extreme situations of being
a prince or princess.”

MaineStage Shakespeare in Kennebunk, which will be producing The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth, holds their shows al fresco at their stage in Lafayette Park, reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.  “You have some of the most beautiful, amazing, picturesque moments,” says MaineStage Managing Artistic Director Chiara Klein, describing the magic of outdoor Shakespeare.

It’s the year of Shakespeare, so hoist up your tights, fluff your ruff, and go see some classics.

Theater at Monmouth


Cumston Hall

796 Main St.

Monmouth, ME

When: June 28 – Sept. 28




MaineStage Shakespeare


The MaineStage in

Lafayette Park

Kennebunk, ME


July 3 – Aug. 9