VERMILLION — Officials with the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival (SDSF) announced they are planning to move forward with a professional production of “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” in Vermillion’s Prentis Park June 17-20, 2021.

In light of the COVID-19 environment, the rehearsal and production process will be carefully and responsibly mitigated.

Executive Artistic Director Chaya Gordon-Bland looks forward to returning to live performances.

“In considering our production for this summer, there was an overwhelming consensus within the company that it was important to produce a joyful and uplifting comedy,” she said. “This has been such a challenging and stressful time in the world. The SDSF wants to bring joy to people’s lives, and help support health, happiness, and healing for our communities through theatre. ‘Twelfth Night’ is a delightful and uplifting comedy, chock full of music, playful antics, delicious language, and nuanced explorations of human relationships.”

The play will be directed by Oliver Mayes, who is in the midst of finishing his MFA in Directing at the University of South Dakota.

“I am thrilled to be working with the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival,” he said. “Their commitment to accessibility and engaging with communities is something I deeply admire; I look forward to collaborating on a production of ‘Twelfth Night’ that is truly a communal experience.”

Throughout rehearsals and performances, the SDSF will implement an array of mitigation techniques, including de-densification, distancing, use of masks and thorough sanitation. The production in the park will take place for a live audience as well as via a streaming platform. The SDSF is also planning safe and responsible arts education programming in collaboration with their various outreach partners. Through their programs, the SDSF strives to improve and expand arts education for K-12 students and increase quality of life for youth and adults throughout southeast South Dakota. In fulfillment of the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival’s values of access and inclusion, all programming will be free and open to the public.

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