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Summer with Shakespeare could be a good time

CECILIA NASMITH, NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY
CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland TodayCobourg resident Paula Worley, seen with her 12-year-old son Angus (left) and 19-year-old drama student Rachel Mrachtiv (right), has announced auditions for Shakespeare Street Theatre 2011.

CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland TodayCobourg resident Paula Worley, seen with her 12-year-old son Angus (left) and 19-year-old drama student Rachel Mrachtiv (right), has announced auditions for Shakespeare Street Theatre 2011.

COBOURG -- If a theatrical production involves donkey masks, costumes and fencing, you know it's going to be a hoot.

Such is Shakespeare, Cobourg resident Paula Worley declared. In fact, the goal of her two-year-old Shakespeare Street Theatre is to showcase the talents of local thespians to spread the word that Shakespeare is fun.

The idea of street theatre is not widely known, but she hopes to change that. Her motto is "Coming to a street corner near you."

With three summer gigs planned (and, she is hoping, more yet to be arranged), Worley has announced auditions for the 2011 company March 20 and April 10 at Premiere Dance & Theatre Arts Academy on Ontario Street.

All ages are welcome, she stressed.

"I have always loved Shakespeare. I taught drama and ran little play groups back in England. Then, a few years ago, I thought, 'I want to try to convince people that Shakespeare isn't dull and boring.'"

Inspired by the Driftwood Theatre group that tours Ontario with a different al fresco Shakespeare production each year, Worley started her own group in 2009. She has worked on building it each year with new members and new gigs.

It was a troupe of eight young people last year, with two crew helpers.

"And I borrow my husband -- he has no choice," she added.

The age range was perhaps eight to 39, and the mix included two professional adult actors, a university student, two high school students and a young fencer. This year, ideally, she'd like to see a troupe of 10 with (she hopes) some senior members.

The more of a mix she has, the more she can tailor productions and casting. Once she has her 2011 troupe lined up, she will figure out how to spotlight their talents in which plays and scenes.

Another great aspect of spending the summer doing Shakespeare, she added, is that it is free. With the support of the Victorian Operetta Society (for whom she paints scenery) with props and scenery and the help of the Premiere Academy (where she teaches a drama class) in providing the audition hall, she keeps her costs low.

She also employs considerable ingenuity in creating anything else that is needed (she terms herself a craftist).

The result is a summer pursuit anyone can afford, an important consideration for Worley, because the study of drama can be very expensive.

"It's fresh, it's fun and it's not a huge commitment. Let's make Shakespeare fun again!" she said.

Audition times are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://shakespearestreettheatre. webs.com/auditioninformation.htm .

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