‘Much Ado About Nothing’ shows bring the theater outside to Shelton

A grassroots Shakespeare troupe will bring Shakespeare to the park this summer with performances of "Much Ado About Nothing."

The Valley Shakespeare Festival is an outdoor theater in Connecticut — this year’s summertime show is "Much Ado About Nothing."

Formed this past year, the troupe plans on bringing live performances in an outdoor setting at the Shelton Riverwalk.

“I think there’s something in this play for everyone,” said Tom Simonetti, founder and artistic director of the Valley Shakespeare Festival.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is about love, deception, people wanting to have a good time, but because of road blocks, they can’t get there in a time, Simonetti said.

Twist is where the play is set

The twist on this summer’s performance is it’s set in Italy, shortly after World War II. Simonetti said after the WWII, there was a civil war in Italy against fascism.

Then, “Italy starts to become the Italy that we know today,” with the fashion, vehicles and general culture of it all, Simonetti said. “It’s a great time period," he said.

Last year, audience members brought blankets, chairs and picnics to watch the performances. This year, audiences are invited to do the same.

“We have a great cast of professionals” acting, said Simonetti. “It’s a very daunting task [putting on a show] and I love it a lot.”

This theater group is looking for more local people to get involved.

Community involvement

“One of our biggest goals is to get aspiring” actors, publicity people and others looking towards the theater, said Simonetti. “We are looking to give them an experience that will help them in the real world," he said.

Intern applications are still open for the Valley Shakespeare Festival. The actors have been chosen. Rehearsals start June 23, and will run Monday through Saturday.

The Valley Shakespeare Festival will stage free performances of "Much Ado About Nothing" from July 10-12 at 8 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park (the Riverwalk), Shelton.

About the group

The Valley Shakespeare Festival is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization.

Contributions for the charitable purposes of the Valley Shakespeare Festival must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The festival is currently applying for 501(c)(3) status.

Valley Shakespeare Festival can be reached at 203-513-9446 or www.vsfestival.org.

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