Sunday, February 13, 2011

Antioch Shakespeare Festival

Arthur Lithgow
Situated in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the Antioch Shakespeare Festival set out in 1952 to produce the entire canon in 5 years, an achievement which received recognition from Elizabeth II.

1952 featured the collected "History" plays, suggesting Shakespeare himself saw them as one great sweeping vision.

1953 the Greek and Roman plays, including such little performed pieces as Pericles and Timon of Athens.

1954 to 1956 included the greatest variety, including a large number of comedies, and saving plays like Hamlet and Lear for the fifth and final season of this endeavor.

A professional endeavor, associated with Antioch College, the company consisted of actors with "extensive off-Broad, stock, radio and TV credits" with drama students filling out the minor roles.

Founding and Managing director Arthur Lithgow (September 9, 1915 – March 24, 2004), an associate English professor at Antioch, was also good at getting other members of the faculty to play supporting roles.

The Festival was an outdoor, summer theater, earning the nickname Shakespeare Under the Stars, produced on a multi-leveled staged with Antioch Hall as a stately backdrop.

Lithgow departed the Festival 1958 to become Executive Director of Stan Hywet in Akron, and soon after the Founding Artistic Director of Great Lakes Shakespeare festival.

Shakespeare Quarterly (Omar Ranney, Autumn 1955)
Shakespeare Quarterly (Robert G. Shedd, Autumn 1957)
Arthur Lithgow Papers (Kent State University)

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