Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” washes ashore this weekend

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Courtesy photo Delilah Blake as Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, and Charlotte Blake as Lord Sebastian, practice their dueling techniques. The 8 p.m. performance is free to the public on July 15 and 16 at the Winters City Park. (Courtesy photo)

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Winters Shakespeare Workshop
Special to the Express

Winters Shakespeare Workshop (WSW) is bringing a magical storm to the stage at the Winters City Park this weekend.

WSW is a five-week, in-depth summer program where teenagers get an opportunity to experience all aspects of putting on a play. From playing parts in the production to helping to design the set backdrops, participants jump in feet first to bring one of William Shakespeare’s plays to life for the Winters community.

Under the guidance of Director Gabe Fernandez, WSW participants will be performing Shakespeare’s comedy “The Tempest” on Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on the Winters City Park stage located at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets.

“The Tempest” is the story of an exiled ruler who uses magic to conjure a storm, features comedic happenings about a major act of betrayal, getting revenge in tormenting enemies, and more. The story explores multiple themes including magic, betrayal, revenge and family.

“This production plays in a very campy realm, with exaggerated character acting and colorful 80s aesthetics. We’re bringing together a small group of teens from Winters and Davis, with varying levels of experience,” said Fernandez. “It’s been important to me to not treat this like a kids’ production, but rather push these young actors to achieve something they and others likely didn’t think they were capable of. It’s a lot of hard work on the actors’ part to create something that can let the audience have fun.”

WSW is a community affair. Students, their parents, and local artists “jump in” to create an evening of entertainment for the community. This year the cast offers a wide range of ages. The teenage actors are supported by a troupe of younger dancers.

Over many years, the WSW has flourished with help from a community of friends and family members, and especially with the support and sponsorship of Winters Friends of the Library and of the City of Winters. This year is an important reset for the WSW summer program as they work to rebuild momentum in their 21st season after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WSW provides training and an avenue for teens to perform. Actors gain skills in acting, voice and movement. They offer teens a fun way to grow upon their theater skills and provide a free theatrical experience for all members of the Winters’ community.

It is magical. For two nights, the playground stage is given over to a production that shows off the hard work of teen aged performers supported with dancing by young children. Children play and imagine in the community park. For one night, theater brings imagination to life. There are few opportunities outside of school events for students to show their theatrical skills, and this event provides them the opportunity.

The performance is on July 15 and 16, starting at 8 p.m. on the Winters City Park stage located at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets. The performance is free to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to view the production. There will be delicious refreshments for sale.

Community attendance supports the cast and the continuation of theater and dance programs for children.

For more information on the WSW program, visit the Winters Friends of the Library website, wfol.org.

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