Shakespeare at Winedale
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2010)|
The Shakespeare at Winedale program, created in 1970 by James B. "Doc" Ayres, is a program affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin, dedicated to Shakespearean criticism through performance of the plays. The main performance space at Winedale, located in Round Top, Texas, is a barn donated to the University of Texas by Ima Hogg.
According to legend, Miss Ima had noticed the resemblance between the barn and a traditional Elizabethan theater. Precisely what the original points of similarity were is unclear. However, the barn's age (its original structure is over 100 years old, as are several other red-heart-cedar barns close by), coupled with the character of the surrounding countryside (gentle hills, pine forests, small farms, pastures dotted with pecan trees) all contribute to an unmistakably pastoral atmosphere, in many ways resembling the pastoral countryside of Shakespeare's world. The harmony of the land with the texts of Shakespeare, as well as the sense of Winedale being rooted in traditions (heightened by the age of the structures, the surrounding farms, and close study of Shakespeare's texts) make the Winedale "experience" a very special one for students and spectators alike.
Though Shakespeare-related programs take place year round in the James B. "Doc" Ayres Theater Barn, the centerpiece of the program is the summer performances. Each summer about 15-20 students, mostly from the University of Texas, spend 11 weeks living and breathing the Winedale experience, culminating in 24 performances of three Shakespeare plays in the last weeks of July and first weeks of August.
After Doc Ayres's retirement from directing the program in 2000, James Loehlin, a Shakespeare-at-Winedale alumnus, took over as the director.