Reston Town Center joins NextStop Theatre in plot to bring Shakespeare to park

Reston Town Square Park (via Google Maps)

As the world awakens from its plague-induced slumber, Reston Town Center and a Herndon theater company have been conjuring the forms of things unknown and working to turn them into shapes.

The town center and NextStop Theatre Co. are collaborating on a new Theater in the Park initiative that will launch next spring with a production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the amphitheater at Reston Town Square Park.

“We are very excited about it,” Reston Town Center Association executive director Robert Goudie said in an email, noting it will complement other programming, such as Sunday Art in the Park with the Shenandoah Conservatory and Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, Lunchtime with the Arts at Mason, and family entertainment on Saturday mornings.

Scheduled to run from April 29 to May 1, 2022, the initiative’s inaugural performances have been in the works since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back then, the RTCA, NextStop, and Reston Community Center envisioned staging a contemporary version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that families can enjoy.

“We all love the way this play can be interwoven with the audience, and the park amphitheater setting seemed the perfect forest,” Goudie wrote.

With the pandemic wiping out performance plans for fall 2020, organizers realized the outdoor setting could help provide a better environment for the show amid COVID-19 concerns. NextStop’s first indoor production with a live audience since the pandemic began premiered June 25.

“Theatres were one of the first types of businesses that had to close…and we are still only starting to crawl back,” said Evan Hoffmann, NextStop’s producing artistic director.

Hoffmann said the Reston Town Center project’s location and timing make the expected performance big, fun, and serendipitously exciting. Casting has not yet started, but the extended planning time is helping organizers get a head start.

The new initiative will kick off springtime cultural programming at Reston Town Center that typically includes the Tephra Fine Arts Festival in the third week of May, though it was rescheduled this year for Sept. 10-12. Last month, the town center held its first movie in the park.

“All of this reflects RTCA’s mission of, in part, supporting the arts (all consistent with Bob Simon‘s original vision for a completely community), something that we think helps differentiate Reston Town Center as a compelling destination,” Goudie wrote.

Photo via Google Maps

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