Target: Brooke Bishop and Allison Volk, Founders of City Shakes
Goal: Support City Shakes’ modernized productions of Shakespearean plays
Having been performed on stages across the world for centuries, it can be a challenge to keep Shakespearean plays fresh and relevant for the modern masses. City Shakes, a new theatre company based in Los Angeles, has taken on the challenge of bringing Shakespeare to today’s audiences in a way that both resonates with them and also stays true to the spirit of the text. Sign this petition to support City Shakes and other theatre companies that strive to strike a balance between traditional and current trends.
The minds behind City Shakes, founders Brooke Bishop and Allison Volk, came together in response to two major impediments that were stopping more people from enjoying Shakespeare. First, ticket prices for Shakespearean plays often inhibit people from attending, while also broadening the divide between socioeconomic classes. This problem is especially troublesome given that Shakespeare originally intended for his plays to be performed for “the people,” not only for the elite. Second, many people feel intimidated by the archaic language in Shakespeare, which can be difficult to interpret when reading it directly from the page. City Shakes addresses both these issues by making ticket prices affordable, and instilling performances with enough passion and personality to prove that Shakespeare’s texts are in fact accessible. Though City Shakes might be a small company now, anyone with their finger on the cultural pulse of Los Angeles knows that it is a force on the rise, quickly gaining traction and momentum.
Allowing audiences of all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds to enjoy and understand the works of Shakespeare and other artists is necessary to eliminate the achievement gap that exists in our country. Sign the petition to commend City Shakes for their work supporting arts and supporting the community.
Brooke Bishop and Allison Volk, Founders of City Shakes,
Thank you for your efforts to produce Shakespearean plays in ways that makes them accessible and affordable to the general public. As you have stated, Shakespeare originally intended his plays to be experienced by “the people,” and so your mission helps to restore the original intention behind Shakespeare’s works. For many people, Shakespeare seems to be an insurmountable text that they are too intimidated to explore. City Shakes shows that this misconception should be no deterrent for attending plays, showcasing productions that have enough vibrancy to appeal to a universal audience.
Your most recent production, Macbeth, was particularly successful at accomplishing these goals. The characters, sporting modern attire like blazers and 21st century dresses, were relatable not only because of their costumes, but also because of their mannerisms and attitudes. Please continue to put on these performances with the same caliber demonstrated so far, and know that you have the support of all the people who have signed below.
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Photo credit: J. Rolfe via Flickr