Director Brooke Bishop, 24, and actress Allison Volk, 26, founded City Shakespeare Company (City Shakes) to make art accessible to the Los Angeles public. Their first production, in collaboration with the James Gray Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, will be a one-night-only free performance of Shrew, Bishop's "no-holds-barred adaptation of Shakespeare's most controversial rom-com," Taming of the Shrew. It takes place on Valentine's Day.
The event also features the musical styling of modern ragtime pianist Aaron Beaumont. "It's an evening of music, fine art, and great theater," says Volk, who plays Kate in the production. "Oh, and wine and cupcakes, of course!" After all, it is Valentine's Day.
Bishop believes strongly in the power of community. Knowing theater to be in a losing competition with film due to high ticket prices, Bishop says, "we will never charge more than the price of a movie ticket for our events, and often times our events are completely free to the public."
Despite her age, Bishop is no stranger to directing and producing Shakespeare. She founded Shakespeare on the Quad in Amherst, Massachusetts, where audience members could enjoy performances for free, and recently assistant directed at Cal Shakes in Northern California.
Volk recently acted in and produced the short film Last Ditch Therapy, which won the California Film Award and premiered at the Budapest International Film Festival in 2012.
Directed by Brooke Bishop. Starring Allison Volk, Colin Martin, Mary Keane, Theo Saltar, Andrew Thacher, Jose Espinosa, Judy Fleming, and Jacques Freydont.
Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are strongly suggested.
If you go: Thursday, February 14th at the James Gray Gallery in Bergamot Station. Doors open at 7 pm, music begins at 7:30 and show starts at 8. For more information and to reserve seats, visit www.cityshakes.org.
Photo Credit: Dusti Cunningham