Stephen Legawiec directed this production of “Hamlet” in 2019. Submitted photo

Stephen Legawiec, artistic director of the Camden Shakespeare Festival, is known for the inventive settings he creates for the company’s performances of Shakespeare’s plays in the Camden Amphitheatre and St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church. The Camden Public Library will welcome Legawiec for a fascinating two-evening online discussion on the changing ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been staged. “Part 1: Where There’s a Will There’s a Way” will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, and “Part 2: Living Will” will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 11, both via the Zoom meeting platform. Email [email protected] to request a link to attend one or both of the presentations.

Creative liberties can taken in the staging and costuming of Shakespeare’s plays. Submitted photo from Library of Congress

Creative liberties can taken in the staging and costuming of Shakespeare’s plays. Submitted photo

Part 1 of the series will explore how society in England and America shaped the way productions were presented. “In the very first production of the Antony and Cleopatra,” Legawiec teases,“did Cleopatra actually wear an Elizabethan hoopskirt?” From tacking happy endings onto the tragedies, to rewriting the plays completely, Legawiec will look at how culture has shaped staging, with an emphasis on Western productions through the beginning of the 20th century.

In Part 2 on June 11, Legawiec puts an emphasis on how directors make Shakespeare’s plays accessible to a contemporary audience. He explains,“We will look at some of the seminal Shakespearean productions of the last 100 years, including Orson Welles’ 1936 ‘Voodoo’ Macbeth and Peter Brook’s 1970 Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

In his 30 years as a director, Legawiec has curated over 100 professional productions as well as directing over 75. He launched Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble to explore the relevance of myth and ritual to a contemporary audience, and for which he wrote and directed every play. Legawiec is the author of 30 plays, including the critically acclaimed “Red Thread,” which won the 2003 Garland Award for Los Angeles Production of the Year.

Outside of the U.S., his work has most recently been seen in Trois-Rivieres, Canada, at the Micro-Festival of Unfinished Puppetry and at the Season of Unusual Theatre. He is the artistic director of Camden Shakespeare Festival, a theater he founded.

For more information on this and other online programs, visit librarycamden.org.


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