Shake on the Lake, Wyoming County’s Professional Shakespeare Festival, celebrates its sixth season by producing its first tragedy, Romeo & Juliet. This year’s tour is the largest to date and takes the company to eight counties – Wyoming, Livingston, Genesee, Orleans, Erie, Niagara, Monroe, and Cattaraugus.

Josh Rice, co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Shake on the Lake, organized the company in 2012 to fulfill a life’s dream to bring professional theatre to his hometown of Silver Lake, NY. Since then, this rural-based company has grown from three professional theatre artists to nearly a dozen and from four live shows to 16 during this year’s Romeo & Juliet tour.

“After producing comedies for the first five seasons, this year we are doing our first tragedy,” says Josh, “Romeo & Juliet is Shakespeare’s best known play, and is actually quite funny for the first three acts. Then, things get really interesting. We are excited to show people how we can put a mirror up to these 400-year old plays and reflect back to audiences things that are still as relevant now, in 2017.”

Chad Bradford, Associate Artistic Director and Shake on the Lake founding company member, is directing Romeo & Juliet this year. Chad has helped shape the creative and collaborative process that Shake on the Lake is known for in their fast, physical, and fun style of adapting Shakespeare.

“When wrestling with a play as beautiful, iconic and famous as Romeo & Juliet, one is tempted to take the bits and pieces of their favorite productions and cram them into a single performance. However, with the collaborative, ensemble-based working model that we have established here at Shake on the Lake, I’m learning things about the play that I never knew before,” says Chad.

The company returns for its residency in Silver Lake starting in mid-July. In addition to performing, the company has a full schedule of K-12 educational programming and performances throughout Western New York.

“We’re thrilled that Shake on the Lake is welcomed in so many communities throughout Western New York,” says Managing Director Pilar McKay, “This year we also joined the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo to strengthen our ties to the regional theatre community and to represent professional theatre in rural areas.”

Shake on the Lake is performing in eight counties: Wyoming (Silver Lake – Perry/Castile, Arcade, and Attica), Genesee (Batavia), Orleans (Point Breeze and Lyndonville), Livingston (Geneseo and Dansville), Erie (Springville), Monroe (Brockport), Niagara (Niagara Falls), and Cattaraugus (Ellicottville). This is the third tour for the company and their sixth season overall.

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