Southwest Shakespeare Company invited Grammy Award-winning Native artist Ty DeFOE to direct their imaginative new broadcast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to benefit COVID-19 RELIEF among Arizona and Southern Utah’s Native communities most devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Rates of coronavirus among Native Nations of Arizona and Southern Utah are the highest in the United States,” says Mary Way, executive director of Southwest Shakespeare Company. “Prior to theater closures we announced a season that focuses on the communities that make up the fabric of our region. Now, the biggest story is the urgent need for medical supplies in Native Nations. We are hoping to use our reach as a theater community to raise funds for relief supplies.”
Southwest Shakespeare Company’s proposed 2020-21 season includes works by Native American playwrights Madeline Sayet (Where We Belong, premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in London) and Mary Kathryn Nagle (Manahatta, premiered at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and later Yale Rep).
“Especially with the season we have planned celebrating the works of indigenous playwrights and theater-makers, how could we stand by and do nothing? Our friends and neighbors are at great risk. Our beloved intern’s family is at risk – so we called on one of my heroes, Ty DeFOE, and Ty said yes!”
“Thrilled to be with the team of artists during this pandemic to decolonize and indigenizing Shakespeare over Zoom,” says DeFOE. “I hope to raise donations for mutual aid efforts for relatives from the Southwestern Nations who are the most at risk from COVID-19.”
“As the pandemic has spread to the Hopi and White Mountain Apache Communities, we have broadened our scope,” say Erika and Russ Dickey, co-founders, PPE for Navajo 1st Responders. “The COVID-19 infection rate on the White Mountain Apache Reservation has risen to 12 percent of the population, 10 times higher than the state of Arizona. We need funds to continue our efforts to save lives. Every case of COVID-19 that we prevent now saves many cases from occurring in the future. We are so very grateful for the public’s help and Southwest Shakespeare’s willingness to raise much-needed funds.”
With the help of Lydia Garcia, dramaturg and first-ever executive director of equity and organization culture at Denver Center for Performing Arts and Leslie Ishii, veteran theater artist and voice and speech specialist, Ty DeFOE will lead a star-studded compilation of actors from New York to Hawaii.
A large percentage of the cast of Southwest Shakespeare Company’s imaginative new broadcast of A Midsummer Nights Dream is also from Native communities, and they want to help with emergency relief.
The cast includes television and film actor Rainbow Dickerson as Titania and Madeline Sayet, executive director of Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program and Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 pick, is slated to play Puck. Sayet is also slated to be Southwest Shakespeare Company Artist-in-Residence in Fall 2020 during the run of her solo-show Where We Belong.
Featured in the cast of COVID-19 Relief Virtual Classics LIVE! production are: Marisa Carr, Kimberly Chatterjee, Matt Cross, Felix Cruz-Ortiz, Erin Dillon, Sawyer Edwards, Ariana Gibeault, Moses Goods, King Hang, Jake Hart, Jordan Ho, Cloteal Horne, Frank Katasse, Jessica Ranville and Padrig Sullivan.
Donations received as the result of this performance will go to Native Nations: COVID Relief.
Make donations HERE
VIRTUAL CLASSICS via Zoom and Facebook
Sat., July 11, at 7:30 p. m.
Tune in to see the Midsummer Antics HERE.