DELAND – Shakespeare is crossing the ocean, moving from his traditional location in London to someplace new – Volusia County.
The Oxford Shakespeare Company, based in New York and London, is expanding and on its way to Deland. Ron Song Destro, the artistic director of the Oxford Shakespeare Company, is now working on the creation of the Florida Shakespeare Festival.
As part of that upcoming event, Destro is looking for local actors for outdoor performances of “As You Like It,” which will have four shows in Deland on Nov. 22-23, in conjunction with the Deland Fall Festival of the Arts.
Shakespeare certainly isn’t new to Orlando, which has been the home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater for decades.
What is new, though, is that Destro now divides his time between New York and Deland as he works on the creation of the Florida Shakespeare Festival. Destro, who has staged more than 25 Shakespeare plays in New York, London, and Stratford-on-Avon, plans to direct the production of “As You Like It,” and is developing plans over the next two years to brings lots more of Shakespeare to Volusia County, including presentations of “Richard III on Bosworth Battlefield, England,” “Henry V on the Agincourt battlefield in France,” and “Macbeth in Birnam Wood, Scotland.”
For now, he’s busy casting for “As You Like It.” Destro is on the hunt for adult-aged actors of all types and ethnicities. Previous experience acting in a Shakespearean production is desired but not required, Destro noted, since he will provide his actors with all the training they need.
Those who want to audition for this production should prepare a one-minute monologue from any Shakespeare play. Auditions will be held in DeLand on Sept. 20-21, and rehearsals will run evenings and weekends from Oct. 13 to Nov. 21.
Volunteers are also desired. Anyone interested in assisting in this production, or with the musical and vocal choirs, should also contact Destro. Musicians who own and can play Elizabethan-type instruments are likewise in need.
To schedule an audition, or receive more information, visit the Florida Shakespeare Festival page or email Destro@OSCtheatre.org.
Destro’s credentials are lengthy and impressive. He is a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts award-winning playwright, and an actor, director and teacher. He’s the founding director of the non-profit Oxford Shakespeare Company, and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant. His play “Hiroshima,” a collaboration with Yoko Ono, won the 1997 Kennedy Center New American Play Award.
He’s taught acting for dancers at the Joffrey Ballet School, and trained, worked and taught with leading artists of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and the Shanghai Opera Theatre.
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