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Shakespeare Festivalÿ Finds a Watery Home 

Ever since the festival began in 1998, it has held performances at Agecroft Hall, a 500-year-old Tudor mansion now in Windsor Farms. But last year, zoning problems caused the festival's Agecroft dates to be abbreviated. The Fulton Hill Studios in the East End served as an alternate venue for the rest of the season but, Mudge says, wasn't conducive to new audiences. "We have a core fan base who will follow us wherever we go," Mudge says. "But Fulton Hill Studios, even though it's only five minutes from downtown, was not the kind of venue that people who are not yet familiar with us would come out to."

In his search for something more mainstream, Mudge seems to have found it in

the turning basin.



Actors will perform on an 8-foot floating stage and make use of the dockside,

while audiences will never be more than 40 feet from the action. Viewers will

be able to bring blankets and sit on the triangle of lawn or sit in one of the

folding chairs that will be set up at dockside. Of course, the actors may have

to fight the noise from the highway above and from the inevitable crowds at

Friday Cheers. But Mudge is hopeful that the group will win some new fans in

passersby.



"I'm certain it will boost our visibility in town," he says.



The festival will still perform 19 shows at Agecroft, with an additional 15

at the turning basin.



Mudge has selected an easily digestible spoof to inaugurate the festival's

new site at the turning basin. "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged"

features three actors performing all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in 90 minutes.

Mudge calls it "nonthreatening" Shakespeare: "It will be welcoming to new audiences

of Shakespeare because of its comic fashion, and it does so in a spirit William

Shakespeare would like."



He adds, "The more I do Shakespeare, the more I realize William Shakespeare

loves the laugh." — Carrie Nieman





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