Wednesday, September 22

Shakespeare at Winedale for UT Life & Letters

This year marked the 40th anniversary of Shakespeare at Winedale.  What started in 1970 as a UT English class in Shakespearean performance has blossomed into a rich theater tradition in Round Top, Texas.  Each summer, students descend on the tiny town halfway between Houston and Austin, population 88, to perfect and perform three plays at the 19th century barn turned Elizabethan stage.  In celebration of the 40th milestone, alumni of the program gathered at Round Top for a week long theater immersion and encore performance

I spent an afternoon shooting verticals for UT's Life & Letters magazine, an interesting exercise when the vast majority of photography is horizontal.  Oh, the hardships we endure for magazine covers.  Ha. 

I'd love to go back for the entire week next year.  The alumni are tightly knit, even though many haven't seen each other since their college days.  There's a bond with their former professors James Ayres and James Loehlin, the barn itself, even the brutal summer heat.  Something life changing happens every summer at Winedale and it's still as palpable to the class of 1971 as it is to the class of 2011.

Kristin Johnson, alumni of the 1987 and '88 seasons, awaits her cue from the side-door of the Winedale stage during a 40th reunion performance.
At left, all hands are on stage for the induction of the Taming of the Shrew.  At right, Tara Kirkland leans over an air conditioning unit backstage.   
At left, a sign on the dressing room reminds actors to stay silent during a performance with a quote from Henry the Sixth "Sweet Aunt, be quiet...". At right, Terry Galloway goes through her lines backstage before the start of the 40th anniversary performance of Shakespeare at Winedale.

Cast members gather before the curtain.

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