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Theatreworks outdoor summer Shakespeare returns with familiar fun and a new venue (Photo) - 06/23/22

Theatreworks' summer Shakespeare production has been a staple of the Colorado Springs arts landscape for decades. While the production has made its home in many locales through the years, most recently at Rock Ledge Ranch, it’s always been a joyful celebration of the magic of Shakespeare, and the undeniable majesty of a summer evening in the Pikes Peak Region. Following a COVID-induced hiatus, summer Shakespeare returns, performing for the first time on the Ent Center for the Arts lawn with Twelfth Night.

Opening July 7, Twelfth Night brings this celebrated tradition to the UCCS campus, offering the mountain views audiences have grown accustomed to, along with a selection of new amenities (most notably, parking, restrooms and food). The move, made possible in part by a generous grant from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, reflects Theatreworks’ commitment to increased accessibility for artists and audiences, and brings the show back to the heart of Colorado Springs.

One of Shakespeare’s quintessential comedies, Twelfth Night offers the perfect return to Shakespeare after a time away. Centered on separated twins and mistaken identities, the play follows its eclectic cast of characters from mourning and isolation to joy and connection. In true Shakespearean form, the action centers primarily on the resolution of multiple mixed-up love triangles, interspersed with bumbling hijinks from a cast of clowns.

Theatreworks’ production features many Colorado-based actors, including Samia Mounts (Witch), Jenna Moll Reyes, and Mark Rubald, alongside familiar favorites Sammie Joe Kinnett (Witch, Measure for Measure, The Santaland Diaries), Ashley Crockett (Macbeth), Dastàn Harrison (The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor), Dante Finley (Free-For-All: Comedy of Errors, Free-For-All: A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Colton Pratt (Measure for Meaure, Around the World in 80 Days). The production is helmed by returning Chicago-based director Kathryn Walsh.

Despite conception nearly three years ago, before the first shutdown, this production feels more relevant than ever. Walsh says, “It’s a story of moving from grief and isolation to love and connection, which feels like an important journey to go on after recent years.”

And despite a script written centuries ago, this production remains firmly of the moment. With a concept including bold colors, androgynous costuming and unexpected musical instruments, the show feels light, fun and modern. It extracts the best of Shakespeare’s original story and layers it over today’s world.

The creative team includes Stephanie Cluggish (costumes), Viktoria Padilla (lighting), Caroline Eng (sound design), Dan Porten (scenic/props design), Garth Moritz (stage manager), and Skylar Campbell (assistant stage manager).

In the tradition of Theatreworks’ summer Shakespeare program, enhanced audience experience is a central component of Twelfth Night. In addition to the spectacular sunset views, and all the amenities available by virtue of being so near the Ent Center, audiences will have the opportunity to purchase specially curated charcuterie boxes to enjoy with the show. While these scrumptious evening enhancers aren’t on sale yet, patrons can keep an eye out on the Ent Center website, or check their know-before-you-go emails for more information on how to purchase. Audience members who arrive early will also enjoy a “green show,” featuring local musicians performing half an hour before the show.

Tickets to Twelfth Night can be purchased online at entcenterforthearts.org or by phone at 719-255-8181. Performances begin Thursday, July 7, and continue through Sunday, July 31. UCCS students are always free. Evening performances are at 7p, Wednesday – Sunday.

Associated Events

Designer and Scholar chats: Before all Thursday performances from 6:15-6:45p, artists and experts who worked on the show or explore its themes will give brief presentations and discuss the work.

A Framing Panel on this modern interpretation of Twelfth Night will happen from 5:30-6:30p before the show on Sunday, July 10th

Check the Twelfth Night webpage and your Know-Before-You-Go email for details on speaking engagements.

Just the Facts:

Twelfth Night runs at the Ent Center for the Arts Wednesday-Sunday at 7p from July 7 to July 31. Tickets are available now at entcenterforthearts.org or by calling 719-255-8181. Free for UCCS students. Discounts available for military, UCCS faculty, and groups of 10 or more. See website for details.

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UCCS offers free Academic Fitness Class to Colorado High School Students - 06/21/22

This summer, UCCS is offering an online academic fitness class completely free to all Colorado high schoolers. The four-week class, part of the CU Succeed Online program, consists of four self-paced modules and live office hours with the instructors.  

The class is being offered for the second year in a row after the initial course filled up completely last summer. 

The course, which runs from July 11 – August 5, will teach concepts like time management, help students develop the life skills they’ll need in college, and give them a sneak peek into what college assignments are like. It will also build on existing practical skills that apply to students’ personal success in high school and other areas of life.

“Last year, the UCCS Academic Fitness class got me excited and prepared for future college-level classes,” student Kate Bennett said.  

Students who complete the course will receive one college credit.

“We started offering this class to help prepare high school students because we were hearing that there was a need for more students to be prepared for the expectations of college-level classes,” said Karen Bisset, Assistant Director of High School Programs. “More and more students are taking college classes in high school and are seeing the value of earning college credit early in their academic careers. We believe this class is an important piece to provide to those students.”

The online course is designed to be accessible for any high school student and is particularly advantageous to those in rural districts who may not have access to local college-level courses.  

“We’ve gotten very positive feedback from students, parents, teachers and districts,” Bisset said. “The students learn a lot and it’s a valuable experience for them.”

Bisset said this year, the university has taken steps to give students an even more supportive and meaningful environment in which to take the course.

“The students are being supported not only by the faculty member but also a mentor. This summer, students will be able to interact with a Success Mentor, a UCCS Counseling and Human Services graduate student whose main role is to work with online high school students to make sure they are understanding class expectations, completing coursework and encouraging them throughout the entire experience,” Bisset explained.

The deadline to register is July 6. There is limited space in the course, so students are encouraged to sign up early. Students can get more information and sign up by visiting https://outreach.uccs.edu/hs/online and scrolling to the “Academic Fitness” dropdown towards the bottom of the page.