bpac stage

Oldcastle Theatre Company will present three shows this summer on the stage of the Bennington Performing Arts Center.

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BENNINGTON — A comedy-drama about two strangers brought together by circumstance, a one-woman play about the wife of William Shakespeare and an adaptation of a Henry James classic will be coming to the stage during Oldcastle Theatre Company’s 49th season this summer.

“It’s been a challenging year for everyone and we are so excited bring live entertainment back to Southern Vermont,” said Nathan Stith, the artistic director of Oldcastle, the professional theater company in residence at the Bennington Performing Arts Center.

“There are things that theater can do better than any other medium, and the shows we’ve chosen for this season do just that,” Stith said. “They are plays which celebrate the human desire to connect, the importance of an indomitable spirit, and the power of imagination.”

The season will open July 9 with “Visiting Mr. Green” by Jeff Baron. “It’s a play about making connections, and the importance of family and companionship” said Stith, who will direct the production. Baron’s hilarious and moving play about two men who are forced to spend time together despite the fact that they can’t stand each other has been translated into 22 languages and had successful productions around the world.

“It’s the perfect play to welcome back our audiences, they will laugh, they will be moved, and most importantly, they will connect,” Stith said. The production will star longtime Oldcastle favorite Richard Howe as Mr. Green and will run July 9-18.

The second show, running Aug. 6-15, is “Shakespeare’s Will” by Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen. This beautifully written one-woman play explores the inspiring and complicated life of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. It is the story of a woman who loved her husband and children deeply, made incredible sacrifices, and maintained her strength and spirit throughout life’s challenges with — and without — the most famous playwright in history.

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Katrina Ferguson, who has been seen on the Oldcastle stage in “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” and “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” will return to Bennington to play Anne. According to BPAC executive director Jennifer Jasper, “not only is the play both funny and powerful, the life of this mostly unknown woman is incredibly relatable and will resonate with our audiences in unexpected ways.”

Jillian Armenante will direct the final production of the season, Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” As a director, Armenante has received Drama Critics Circle Awards, several Garland, L.A. Ovation and L.A. Weekly Awards. As an actor, she received a Drama Desk nomination for “The Cider House Rules.” She is best known nationally for her role as Donna Kozlowski on the CBS series “Judging Amy.”

Running Sept. 3-12, this innovative and highly theatrical play about a Victorian era governess, hired to care for two orphaned children, explores the power of the human imagination and asks the audience to decide what is real what is imagined. It also has contemporary relevance.

“Like the repression of the Victorian era, this past year of the pandemic has placed such restraints on all of us,” Armenante said, “the experience of which lends itself beautifully to this play.”

“This truly is a season that has something for everyone and we can’t wait to share live theater with our community again this summer,” Stith said.

Tickets will go on sale beginning June 1. All seats are $25 this season and can be purchased by phone at 802-447-0564, online, or in person 90 minutes prior to each performance. For more information contact the box office or visit oldcastletheatre.org.


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