The Rockland Shakespeare Company, through SUNY
Rockland Community College, is a community outreach program designed to bring
quality classical productions to the community of Rockland for free. Now in our thirteenth year, we continue to grow as a company as well as educational outreach
endeavor benefiting the community.
Back in 1998, SUNY Rockland honored William
Shakespeare, with a semester of cross-departmental festivities. The Performing
Arts Department, headed by Patricia Maloney-Titland was integral in rounding
out the performance aspect of the springtime dedication to the most influential
writer in the English language, William Shakespeare.
1998 also saw the creation of the annual outdoor
summer Shakespeare production created by Artistic Directors/Founders – Patricia Maloney-Titland & Christopher Plummer and the
Performing Arts Department. The kick-off production of Romeo and Juliet was a truly ambitious and worthwhile
endeavor. The fledging, but passionate group of Actors, Directors and
Shakespeare enthusiasts attempted something that has never been done here at
SUNY Rockland or in Rockland County- Bringing the bard to the community for
free. They succeeded.
Romeo and Juliet opened unforeseen doors
to the future for the company. With the following season’s comedic production
of Much Ado About Nothing,
again, they triumphed. Taking the creative process further and further into new
dimensions, the company began experimenting with staging and themes for the
timeless plays. They were no longer locked down into one particular area of the
beautiful campus courtyard. Thus, the second annual outdoor summer Shakespeare
production was complete, and word was out, audiences began to grow.
and Juliet opened the doors to the future for the company, then the
third annual outdoor production blew the doors completely off the hinges,
literally. With the companies third seasons production of Macbeth all the barriers were broken down. With Macbeth, the company evolved into
a true modern day Shakespeare Company, with the likes to be reckoned. Complete
with motorcycles, guns, and leather-clad warriors that would have made Mad Max
proud. Macbeth reverberated
with intense passion and ambition, not only for the Actors but for the Company
and the College as well. The crowds agreed. Macbeth
achieved the biggest audience turn-out to date.
company's next and fourth adventure led them to a beautiful and loveable land
called Illiria, as Twelfth Night rounded out the 2001 summer
season. Yet again, audiences spoke in word and action as the turnouts continued
and the positive feedback rolled in.
In 2001 we not
only saw the beginning of a new millennium, but the inception of a new moniker
for the courageous young company, the Rockland Shakespeare Company,
A little 'RSC', this side of the pond.
In 2002, with
our Fifth annual summer Shakespeare production of Othello, set
within the neo-political realm of today, we cemented ourselves in the
Theatrical community of Rockland County.
jealous General and his tale of marital woes was our 2003’s season’s island
themed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With ‘Midsummer’
came yet more attention and articles and commentary rolled in about out
‘little’ company. We laughed, we cried, we went home. However, we knew not what
we were in for following ‘Midsummer’. Every year we try to alternate between
plays and themes to give our audience a well rounded and exciting vision of
could be more different and exciting following ‘Midsummer’ than Shakespeare’s immortal
tragedy, Hamlet. It is a play that we wanted to tackle from the
very outset of our company and we felt that the time was right. Our summer 2004
season saw our version of Hamlet,
set in Feudal Japan near the end of the Samurai reign. What an ending it was! Hamlet was one of our most
ambitious productions with our largest cast to date and one of our largest
collective audience attendance numbers since our inception.
In our 2005 season we decided that we and our
audience needed a well deserved break after the tragedy of Hamlet so we decided to have some fun, yet again and send up
our version of As You Like It.
Set in the 1930’s, As You Like It
is one of Shakespeare most musical works as well as a staple in the
Shakespearean cannon of comedies. You asked for more Comedies and we heard you!
Our 2006, Ninth annual performance deviated from
our usual routine of Tragedy-Comedy-Tragedy-Comedy to follow-up our successful
run of As You Like It with not
one, but two comedies back to back!
We staged our first ever double-Bill Shakespeare event with our 1980’s themed
musical version of Love’s Labour’s
Lost and if that were not enough to dislodge your padded shoulders and
get your crimped hair in a knot, we added our first ever work that was not
written by the bard, but wholly inspired by him; the irreverently funny and
raucous comedy, The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shakpr (abridged). Our
audiences laughed...we cried... I mean, sighed! We did it! Two shows in one
summer season! However, the best was yet to come...
In 2007, with these Tenth Anniversary productions we continue to mark a momentous and exciting reality for the
company, the fact that we are a company, an enthusiastically ambitious and
passionate group of Actors, Directors, Designers...Artists, bringing
Shakespeare to people that thought they never liked the Bard. We look forward
with great anticipation to many enlightening and thrilling years with
Shakespeare, with Rockland County, and with the audiences that have grown in
numbers and shown their appreciation over the years.
Our Tenth Anniversary season’s productions were an
amazing year-long blitz of the Bard. We celebrated his works by not only
producing his words on stage, but words inspired by him. Such as Joe Calarco’sR&J and the hit
Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate as well as Shakespeare’s first Comedy, The
Comedy of Errors, which we set in a Pirates of the Caribbean type port
city, to great success. ‘Errors’ garnered our largest audience turn-out to
In 2008, We followed up our version of
Shakespeare’s first comedy with his first and by far, most bloody tragedy,
Titus Andronicus. ...and Bloody, it was! Never have we enacted so many deaths
in such rapid succession as we did in ‘Titus’. A stabbing, a draw and quartered
body, a rape, two mutilations, two decapitations, two slit throats with
exsanguination and utter desecration of bodies baked into pies, as well as a
broken neck, a few more stabbings and finally a drawn-out torture...and a
partridge in a pair tree.
In 2009, we decided to change our compass setting
and set our production of The Merry Wives of Windsor in the old west
complete with dancing girls at the Garter Inn and thieves and trickery around
every corner. No production of Merry
Wives would be complete without the loveable rascal Sir John Falstaff, who
donned a gun belt rather than a sword this time ‘round! Oh, the wives of Windsor
sang that song, doo dah-doo dah and
people sang with them, as Merry Wives
delivered a wonderful public turnout!
Now, in 2010, with our reprised production of Much
Ado About Nothing (the second play and first comedy the company ever produced)
we delved into the ever-popular and mystical world of superheroes and villains.
This will be a challenging and exciting task for the company, one that is
looked upon as fulfilling and ultimately vital for the community, as we are the
only adult Shakespeare Company in Rockland County and our productions are free
to all who wish to attend and experience the words and passions of one of the
greatest writers of all time. Bringing important insight and culture to the
community as well as artistic education to the students of Rockland Community
College and all who wish to learn and enjoy classic literature performed. That
is one of the chief missions of our company.
So join us, if you will, as we share another
spectacular season and our decade long and strong tribute to the Bard-of-Avon,
at Rockland Community College, with Rockland County and with you, our noble
“The actors are at hand and by their show you
shall know all that you are like to know.”
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