From June 1 to July 22, the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival, produced annually by Endstation Theatre Company and held at Sweet Briar College near Amherst, Va., is inviting visitors from around the region to “come play” in Central Virginia. Festival audience members will be offered discounts at various local restaurants, wineries, breweries and hotels surrounding the festival.
Getaway packages with even greater discounts will also be available, and will include hotel stays, festival tickets, dinners and more. This program is made possible in partnership with Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Nelson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lynchburg Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Bedford Tourism & Welcome Center.
“The areas of Lynchburg, Bedford Amherst and Nelson counties have so much to offer travelers,” said Geoffrey Kershner, artistic director and founder of Endstation Theatre Company. “We have mountains, scenic drives and national forests, but we also have fantastic local wineries, breweries and restaurants. We want our audience members to come to the festival, stay for the weekend, and experience everything that is great about this region. It’s a great reason to explore Central Virginia.”
This year, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Virginia as one of the 10 best wine travel destinations in the world. In partnership with the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival, 14 local wineries are offering free or discounted tastings to all Festival‐goers. Additionally, each outdoor theatrical performance will feature wine or beer from a different local vineyard or brewery to be enjoyed during the show.
The Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival, established in 2008, is an annual event that features a variety of productions, including inventive outdoor stagings of classic plays, re‐imagined musical favorites, regionally based original works and innovative theater for young audiences. The 2012 season features three exciting productions: Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” and “Macbeth,” both produced outdoors on the bucolic Sweet Briar College campus, and “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” an adventurous musical perfect for the whole family.
Sweet Briar is annually ranked among the top five or six on the Princeton Review’s “Most Beautiful Campus” list, reflecting both the classical Georgian architecture of its academic village and a natural landscape of mountain views, woods and fields on more than 3,000 acres. Endstation takes advantage of this palette by staging its productions at a different campus location each year. This year’s “The Comedy of Errors” will be set amidst the gardens of the historic Sweet Briar House, originally built in the 19th century and now used as the home of the College president. “Macbeth” will be staged in the dell at the heart of campus beneath the stars. Audience members are encouraged to bring picnics for both shows.
Tickets for the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival are $15-$22 for adults and $7-$15 for students. For festival tickets, package information, and to request a free Festival Guide with discounts at local businesses, visit www.endstationtheatre.org.
More on the 2012 BLUE RIDGE SUMMER FESTIVAL SEASON
“The Comedy of Errors,” by William Shakespeare
Directed by Geoffrey Kershner
7 p.m. June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 24 and 29 and July 8, 15 and 20
Sweet Briar College grounds
Step into turn-of-the-20th-century Appalachia as a group of roving mountain players perform Shakespeare’s madcap comedy with only six actors and live music. This production will run in repertory through the entire season, allowing visitors from outside the area to see two different productions in one weekend. This production will be sure to have you rolling in the grass with laughter as you enjoy a picnic and wine.
“Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
Music and lyrics by Roger Miller, book by William Hauptman, adapted from the novel by Mark Twain
Directed by Chad Larabee
7 p.m. June 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 and 30; 2 p.m. June 24 and July 1
Murchison Lane Auditorium, Babcock Fine Arts Center, Sweet Briar College
Endstation is excited to produce this classic musical based on Mark Twain’s novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” We follow Huck and Jim as they take their journey down the Mississippi River, filled with adventure, laughter and valuable lessons. This folk‐ and bluegrass‐inspired musical score and Endstation’s exciting new and fresh approach will be sure to wow audiences.
Written by William Shakespeare, directed by Geoffrey Kershner
7 p.m. July 6, 7, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21 and 22
Sweet Briar College grounds
Set in Central Virginia in 1814, this production will investigate the birth of Manifest Destiny in America through Shakespeare’s iconic characters. One of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, the story of Macbeth is a morality tale about greed, ambition and the lust for power. The tale of the Macbeths, their rise to power and ultimate self‐destruction remains a timeless story and a tale well suited for Endstation’s brand of adaptation. Endstation will once again be collaborating with the local Lynchburg post‐rock band Virgineola to create a powerful and thrilling night of live outdoor theater.