Irvington theatergoers will have a chance to take in a live performance for the first time in over a year with the inaugural production from the Irvington Shakespeare Company: a reimagined, 90-minute Twelfth Night, staged outdoors at the O’Hara Nature Center this August. The brand new company joins four other Arts Partners who regularly collaborate with or present their shows at Irvington Theater.
Founder Kamran Saliani, a professional actor and lifelong Irvington resident, hopes to give back to his hometown by creating a community around classics: “Shakespeare wrote from a Eurocentric viewpoint in a time when only men could play the roles. His work was not exactly a beacon of inclusivity. Now, top that off with complex plot lines, poetic and confusing old English language, and we know why watching Shakespeare can seem like work to many.”
The Irvington Shakespeare Company aims to change that — with free tickets, an intersectional approach to prioritizing accessibility, representative casting, and wildly creative adaptations that draw on the most basic themes of humanity; “I believe Shakespeare’s work is meant to be interpreted, shared and celebrated,” Saliani added.
Helming the inaugural production is Irene Lazaridis, an Astoria, Queens-based director and deviser whom Saliani met while they were both studying at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts; she also studied Shakespeare in Oxford, England at the British American Drama Academy. Lazaridis’ Twelfth Night will highlight the magical history of Irvington through a distinctly genderqueer lens.
“This is a world in which nothing is as it seems,” says Lazaridis of Illyria, where Twelfth Night is set. “Love shows itself in a myriad of ways. Each character yearns to find a sense of belonging and acceptance in this magical land.”
A magical land it will be, thanks in great part to the Irvington Parks & Recreation Department and the O’Hara Nature Center whose woods, trails, reservoir, and gardens will provide the perfect home for this fresh take on Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy and for our collective return to live theater!
“I can’t wait to see audiences in Irvington enjoying live performance again,” said Irvington Theater Manager Greg Allen. “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the Irvington Shakespeare Company to our family.”
For Hudson Valley and Westchester-based performers looking to get involved, Lazaridis and Saliani are accepting submissions through April 30 from actors of all ages, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities. Email your headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org (or submitting via Backstage or Actors Access) by April 30.
Twelfth Night will run from August 6-22 under guidance from the New York State Department of Health. Admission is free. Ticket reservations will begin at a later date, so be sure to follow Irvington Theater on social media for the latest announcements. Connect with the Irvington Shakespeare Company at irvshakespeare.org.
Irvington Theater is home to a diverse range of innovative programming that entertains, enlightens, and inspires, establishing itself over its 118-year history as the cultural heart of the Rivertowns. The theater continues its tradition with unprecedented reach though its all-virtual season, #IrvingtonAnywhere.