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Romeo & Juliet, first ever Shakespeare production at UCC

The “Romeo and Juliet” cast has started practicing sword play in  Jacoby Auditorium.
Hannah Hawkins / Mainstream
The “Romeo and Juliet” cast has started practicing sword play in Jacoby Auditorium.

The tragic love story of Romeo & Juliet is coming to Centerstage Feb. 14 through 22. It is the first Shakespeare play to ever be performed at UCC, according to Stephanie Newman, theatre director.

The Feb. 14 opening will include a Valentine’s Day dinner and roses event in the Danny Lang Center. Culinary Arts students will cater Italian cuisine, and Southern Oregon Wine Institute vintages will be available. Guests will be able to enjoy the sunset and the views from the Center before the show. Tickets for this package are $50 per person.

Tickets for assigned seating without the dinner are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and UCC staff, $8 for UCC students and those under 18.

“I’m thrilled to bring the Bard to UCC, as it’s not only important for the Theatre Arts students to gain experience in classical theatre, but it’s also exciting, dynamic storytelling that delights people of every age,” Newman said.

Shakespeare, one of the greatest and most well-known playwrights in history, wrote Romeo & Juliet in the late 1500s. Now, more than 400 years later, Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most frequently produced Shakespearian play.

Newman desires to keep the production pure to show the finesse of Shakespeare. “I am presenting the show in its true form, with late 16th century costumes, balconies and sword fights.”

In order for this production to be successful, it takes personnel, and many of the cast and crew are UCC students. More than 50 people are working behind the scenes; only 20 of those are cast members. A professional contractor is building the set, and a professional costumer is crafting more than 30 costumes for the show. Some of the cast members are newcomers, and one person is coming back to the theatre after decades in another career.

“The performing arts are very unique in that so many people work on their art together, all crafting their individual pieces to contribute to the final product,” Newman said.

By purchasing tickets, people are supporting not only the local performers but also the growing theatre arts scene in Douglas County. “With the many hours of the many people that are put into the show, I only ask that people come see it,” Newman said.

Students are also encouraged to get involved with the show by ushering. A sign-up sheet is located outside the theatre arts office in the Whipple Fine Arts building. Volunteers who come an hour early to assist during the show will get free admission.

Groups of 10 or more are eligible for group rates. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.umpqua.edu or via the Box Office phone at (541) 440-4691 or (541) 440-7700 or at the door if seats are available. Students can also contact theatre@umpqua.edu or Newman at (541) 440-4694.