A team of Oberlin students and theater professionals are spending the early part of summer building the pirate ship set for Treasure Island, one of three plays that will be performed in the seventh season of the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival in July and August.
The festival provides the surrounding communities with six weeks of free, family friendly, professional theater. According to founder and director Paul Moser, the festival is oriented toward audiences of all ages, and seeks to raise Oberlin’s profile as a regional arts destination. Since its inception in 2009, its operating budget and staff have more than doubled, and the number of audience members in 2014 approached the 10,000 mark. Because the shows are performed in rotating repertory, visitors can attend two shows in one day or all three shows in a weekend.
Treasure Island will be the first show to open this summer, running from July 3 to August 8. The story follows 14-year-old Jim Hawkins, played by Colin Wulff ’14, who discovers a treasure map that launches him into a wild pirate adventure alongside Long John Silver, played by Actors’ Equity member Neil Thackaberry. Treasure Island is a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, recommended for ages 6 and older. Moser calls the show “a perfect way to introduce young people to the magical storytelling power of live theater.”
The festival continues its tradition of Shakespeare with All’s Well That Ends Well, a sophisticated yet sometimes bawdy comedy about defying class to pursue love and destiny. The heroine, Helena, strives to marry above her status and win the hand of Count Bertram. All’s Well That Ends Well runs July 10 to August 8 and is recommended for ages 10 and older. The show features Annie Winneg ’15 as Helena and Actors’ Equity members Karen Nelson Moser as Countess Rousillion and Matthew Wright, associate professor of theater, as King of France.
Completing the 2015 season is Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. This uplifting family drama is told through the perspective of 17-year-old Ernestine, as she and other members of her African American family move from Florida to Brooklyn in the changing world of 1950. Featuring third-year student Tiffany Ames as Ernestine and Assistant Professor of Theater Justin Emeka as Godfried, Crumbs from the Table of Joy runs July 17 to August 7 and is recommended for ages 6 and older.
Although tickets are free and available at the door, reservations are recommended. All plays are performed in Hall Auditorium, 67 N. Main St., in Oberlin. The box office is open 9 a.m to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 440-775-8169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OSTF’s 2015 season is made possible by generous support from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, the Ohio Arts Council, Nord Family Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation, Norton Family Foundation, city of Oberlin/Oberlin Business Partnership, and audience members.