Miamians play key roles in Richmond Shakespeare Festival

From left to right:  Maretta Zilic, Miami Intern-Theresa Liebhart, Steven Patterson and Andrea Morales
From left to right: Maretta Zilic, Miami Intern-Theresa Liebhart, Steven Patterson and Andrea Morales Photo: Patrick Flick

Summer festival celebrates the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare

by Jeanne Harmeyer, College of Creative Arts

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University alumni, faculty, and students are behind the scenes and on the stage as part of Indiana’s 2016 Richmond Shakespeare Festival.

Now in its third season, this summer’s productions include The Comedy of Errors and The Tragedy of King Lear and coincide with a year-long international celebration of the 400th anniversary of the legacy of William Shakespeare.

“The shows are very high energy and entertaining,” said Theresa Liebhart, a senior theatre major who’s acting in both plays. “Our production, and Shakespeare’s work in general, are still accessible to modern audiences.”

The festival is presented annually and is a community-wide collaboration and celebration, welcoming participants and guests, regionally and nationally. The mission of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival organization is to produce and promote an annual Shakespeare festival of the highest quality, including theatrical performances and educational opportunities, based in Richmond, Indiana.

Performances this year feature production, design and casting by Miami’s blend of professionals and volunteers, to include lead roles in the productions being played by Jeremie Korta, visiting professor of French and Italian and Scott Shriver (’78) a RedHawk announcer.

“This is a big production, and it’s something new,” said Korta. “I am just one person, but I am part of something wonderful. I am part of a community that has a positive impact on Oxford.”

The Richmond Shakespeare Festival was created by a group of volunteers following the 2013 production of The Tempest at Richmond Civic Theatre as a fundraiser to benefit Studio 10, RCT’s studio theatre program.

For Shriver, it’s more personal.

“One of my favorite memories at Miami was my summers working in Miami University Summer Theatre (MUST),” he said, referring to the program later named the Village Playhouse to describe the joint campus-community nature of it. "This is the closest thing to what I loved so much in the ‘60s.”

Both evening and matinee performances run through Sunday, June 26 at the historic and newly renovated Starr-Gennett piano factory building in the Whitewater Gorge Park in Richmond, Indiana.

“It really is a beautiful outdoor theater space,” said Jeremiah Plessinger, a senior theatre major who plays Edgar in The Tragedy of King Lear and Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. “My favorite thing about the process has been the people. I have met a lot of wonderfully kind, experienced and artistic folks.”

Other Miamians contributing to this year’s productions include; Julia Guichard, chair of theatre (text coach); Cate Hudson, senior theatre major (actress and costume coordinator); Adam Joesten, senior theatre major (actor); Melanie Mortimore, assistant professor of theatre (costume designer); Colin Sapienza, senior theatre major (actor); and Brenton J. Sullivan, senior theatre major (actor).

"As a graduate of Miami University, I am so happy to be able to partner with Miami and all of these talented students, alumnae and theatre department faculty,” said Patrick Flick (’83), producing artistic director. “After years away from the area, being able to give back to Miami and this part of the country is just so exciting.”

Learn more about the Richmond Shakes Festival including performance dates, times and ticket info by visiting www.richmondshakespeare