DERBY - Valley Shakespeare Festival will open its 2014 season with a Kick-Off Celebration from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 21 at Twisted Vine Restaurant, 285 Main St.
“Cocktails with Shakespeare” will take place on the restaurant’s lower level and, in addition to revealing the title of the company’s summer production, will feature prizes, live entertainment, cash bar and appetizers prepared by the Twisted Vine’s chef for an admission fee of $10 a person.
Twisted Vine Restaurant is a loyal sponsor of Valley Shakespeare Festival, having sponsored three previous fundraisers for the company.
Valley Shakespeare Festival, a nonprofit theater company sponsored by Fractured Atlas and run entirely by volunteers, produced three free performances of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” in July in Shelton’s Veterans Memorial Park and two performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in December at Shelton History Center’s Wilson Barn.
The staff of VSF is excited to begin its second season and is thrilled to be able to continue its mission of providing free theater to the Valley.
Members of the company will be in attendance at the fundraiser to relate their experiences with VSF, answer questions and encourage newcomers to join with them in bringing the brilliance and beauty of Shakespeare and other classic literary artists to their family, friends and neighbors in the Valley.
“It’s important to help a young group begin a wonderful journey,” explained Linda LaReau, a volunteer from the very inception.
Cindy Vitone shares LaReau’s opinion and believes that Free Shakespeare provides an indispensable service for the Valley.
Vitone said, “‘Free’ opens peoples’ minds to the possibility of ‘Why not?’”
VSF provides individuals with the opportunity to explore their personal interest in theater in a hands-on manner as well as help to expand the arts in the Valley.
Kevin Mackowski is a relative newcomer to the company who joined after reading about the group in a news article.
“It is a great opportunity for those who have an interest in theater to take an active role, big or small, in this field,” he said.
“The art scene in the Valley is operating in a diminished capacity, and bringing these events to the folks in the Valley, right in their towns, is the easiest way to enrich and expand the arts here.”
Since it is run entirely by volunteers, VSF is always seeking to broaden its staff. It is hoping that “Cocktails with Shakespeare” will entice some of those audience members who enjoyed their previous productions to drop by and learn just how exciting and rewarding it is to be a part of an emerging theater company.
“I offered my services as a volunteer without knowing any of the troupe and I was made to feel very welcome and accepted right away,” said Mackowski. “I could see the passion and dedication in the people involved and it is contagious.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling Valley Shakespeare Festival, 203-513-9446 or by visiting www.vsfestival.org.
This is a press release from Valley Shakespeare Festival.