THE MONTANA SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
With a company of actors from across the nation, the Montana Shakespeare Co. is the Treasure State's resident, professional Shakespeare Co., performing full-length productions of the Bard's great works in the Capital Ciity.
Founded in 1997 the Montana Shakespeare Co. is a division of Artists Group, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization.
BIG NEWS THIS SEASON!
For the second year, MSC brings the words and world of the Bard to the HELENA CIVIC CENTER! Come be part of the MAGIC!
MEET THE DIRECTORS
KIM DeLONG, Helena, MT
Artistic Director, Co-Founder
Kim has been a lifelong arts advocate and theatre professional - a director, actor, fight choreographer and instructor - and has been part of theatre collegiate instruction for over 25 years. As a professional actor and member of the Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild, he has worked in theatre and film across the country. He received his MFA in Acting from Cornell University on full scholarship and has served on the Artistic Committee of the international Shakespeare Theatre Association. He is also a screenwriter for Meridian Films.
MARTHA SPRAGUE, Helena MT
Managing Director, Co-Founder
Martha has been actively involved in arts education for the past 20 years and teaches at the Grandstreet Theatre School. She has done extensive musical theatre choreography and taught tap dance for over 15 years. She received a B.A. in theatre from Arizona State University before working as an actress in Los Angeles. Since moving to Montana, she has also worked for the Montana Arts Council as its Director of Artists Services and Public Arts Coordinator.
The Abridged Version!
Enriching and empowering individuals and community through extraordinary theatre!
The Extended Version:
With commitment to the blending of physical dynamics, poetic language and artistic collaboration, the Montana Shakespeare Company, aspires to create theatre of extraordinary quality.
With emphasis upon the works of William Shakespeare, MSC presents innovative and powerful full-length productions of his plays, along with other master dramatists, in an effort to enrich, enlighten, and entertain audiences of all ages while contributing to the economic & cultural health of our community and state.
The Montana Shakespeare Company (MSC) has grown dramatically since its birth as Kim DeLong’s dream baby in 1997.
While audiences enjoyed the evening shows held in the open-air on the temporary stage in Performance Square, there were others that were rained out; actors words were drowned out by the noise of by passing sirens, and at times, the actors have trouble breathing through wildfire smoke.
“With the magic came thunderstorms,” explains Kim DeLong, MSC's executive artistic director, “We needed to balance those things.” MSC
Martha Sprague estimates that about 2 million people nationwide travel each summer to see open-air Shakespeare performances. “There are a lot of people outside of Helena who are really intrigued by the possibility of seeing Shakespeare in Montana by a resident company based here.”
To bring that Shakespeare-seeking audience into Helena, Sprague and DeLong have decided that MSC needs a permanent location so that the funds devoured by building a temporary stage every season can be devoted to bolstering the company itself.
In 1997, they began MSC: a Helena-based organization that auditions professional actors from Montana and across the United States to find the perfect few who will make Shakespeare come alive in Helena. “We really want people to come to Helena to join in the cultural activities that are going on here,” Sprague says.
A stage of their own could open the door for other opportunities. The season could extend from April until October, and the troupe could perform four shows instead of two, really profiting from the same round-trip airfare that brings actors in for the customary June-August season. “Now all of a sudden it’s a whole new ballgame,” says DeLong, “That’s where we’d like to be.”
Safety for the actors and intimacy with the audience are essential to creating the magic that MSC is going for. “We like intimate Shakespeare,” says DeLong, “It has to be close.” Another critical factor is control over the ambiance, so that production could be held in an environment unthreatened by weather or street sounds – or smoke.
The location is vital. Ideally, it would be a central, down-town area within Helena. “It’s really wonderful to be in the center of that energy, and the community has been really supportive of us… We want to give back a little [by] contributing to the economic and cultural vitality of Helena,” says Sprague. DeLong joins in: “We want to be in the heart of things.”
Write to us at:
Montana Shakespeare Company
6137 Moondance Rd.
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 431-1154—Ticket Reservations and Information.
photos: upper left: Luis Gallindo, "A Comedy of Errors", 2005;
upper right: Keri Safran, Julia Porter, "As You Like It", 2006;
lower right: Chris McKeon, "Hamlet," 2006