We’re excited to share a season of dozens of performances and 15 separate productions of plays, hours, LIT tour offerings, and more.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare Plays provide an interactive play-going experience with live music prior to every show. Most shows feature an array of snacking and drinking options, some of which may constitute a light meal. This season’s offerings include SIX plays, including FOUR in Fayetteville and TWO in Raleigh. That’s right, we’re expanding to the Raleigh market.
Here’s a very exciting sneak peek: following 2018’s rousing run of Sweeney Todd, we’re headed back to Fayetteville Pie Company for a classic show that will knock your socks off.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours are an expanded version of STS’s famous preshow with a kick: an intimate, variety show with live music, original writing, guest artists, thought-provoking reflections, and to meet the overwhelming demand of our audience for more of our hallmark preshow fun. STS hours are a community gathering of story, song, and craft, featuring local beer, quality wine, a signature cocktail, and light meal options. (PG13 due to some adult language and alcohol consumption.)
LIT Performances are for adults, as they blend stripped-down Shakespeare plays with improv, games, and a relaxed, pub-like environment. Underage guests and anyone showing visible signs of intoxication will not be served. We maintain a friendly environment, so no verbal or physical rudeness will not be tolerated. This season’s offerings include our classic HamLIT plus four new titles.
Other Events are also offered throughout the year, including Green Tea youth company performances and our annual Christmas gospel concert, BEHOLD.
If you think all this sounds amazing, go ahead and score your season tickets today!
Written by Jessie Wise, Company Wright
I’ve always loved Shakespeare, but despite earning my bachelors degree in Theatre Arts Education and my masters degree in Theatre History and Criticism, outside of classwork I had never had the chance to really get involved with the plays. After losing my theatre teaching position due to budget cuts, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to get back to the theatre game. Early this year, I spotted an ad in the local paper for auditions for Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s summer shows and knew I had to take the leap to get back involved. One play later, I now am stepping further into this wonderful theatre community to help with some writing and dramaturgical projects. I look forward to the opportunity to share just why I love Shakespeare.
As Sweet Tea Shakespeare prepares to bring HamLit to the stage this fall, I’ve been thinking about all the ways Shakespeare’s writing remains relevant to today’s audiences. While there is much to be said for how the Bard captures humanity in his works (a blog for another day), I have also been considering how though times have changed from the Elizabethan era, the audience’s needs remain the same.
Shakespeare’s original audiences came to the open air theatre of the Globe to see a performance and received an experience similar to the sports events of today. They ate,drank, and had the freedom to move about. Those in the floor section, often referred to as the groundlings, could move closer to the stage for a better view.
This is very much a practice we believe in at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. We provide food and beverage offerings for sale. We have a “sit where you will” and “move as you need” policy, allowing audience members to find explore new perspectives by moving around the seating area, and also acknowledging that humans need movement.
The atmosphere is akin to what you find at today’s breweries. Grab a beer. Visit the food truck. Pick a seat. Spot a friend. Switch seats to sit with them. Grab another beer. This is what you’ll find as Sweet Tea Shakespeare brings HamLit to local bars and breweries this fall. We hope to see you there!
Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s LIT series is going back to its roots with a return to the original installment of the LIT series: HamLIT. It’s the tragedy of the Danish prince paired with improv comedy, live music, and drinking games for an evening of Shakespeare, distilled. We are so excited to bring this fan favorite back to our audiences this fall.
HamLIT is directed by Taj Allen, Traycie Kuhn Zapata, and Nathan Pearce.
The show will be performed at several venues throughout the region:
Friday, Oct. 4 & Friday, November 1 | Arts Council
Thursday, October 10 | Dirtbag Ales
Friday & Saturday October 18-19 and Friday & Saturday November 8-9 | Hugger Mugger Brewing, Sanford
Friday, October 11 , Thursday, October 24th & Saturday, October 26th | Paddy’s
Sunday, October 13 | Fainting Goat Fuquay-Varina
Sunday, October 27th | Fainting Goat Benson
All shows are preceded by our What You Will musical preshow. Food will be available for purchase.
To see HamLIT in action, get your tickets at sweetteashakespeare.com.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare is excited to announce our 2019-2020 season, A Season of Spirits, in which we will present a tragicomedy of friendship and greed, a rollicking return to our LIT roots, a seasonal tradition with a new vision, a sprightly story of fairies, fickleness, and fancy, and a robust tale of love and war. Dates and locations are subject to change, including added dates.
Timon of Athens
(a Green Tea youth company production)
August 22-24, 2019
1897 Poe House
One of Shakespeare’s lesser-performed plays, Timon is a breathtaking and heartbreaking story of foolishness, friendship, and loyalty. Timon, a lord of Athens, spends money wastefully on friends who quickly abandon him once financial ruin hits. Only the most loyal of his friends and confidants stick around, even as Timon descends into destitution and a life as a hermit. An exceptional exploration of love, grace, and persistence, Timon features Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Green Tea youth company. Starts bright and carefree, with notes of friendship; finishes dark, with greed and its aftermath.
Friday, Oct. 4 & Friday, November 1
Thursday, October 10
Friday & Saturday October 18-19 | Friday & Saturday November 8-9
Friday, October 11 | Thursday, October 24th & Saturday, October 26th
Sunday, October 13
Fainting Goat @ 6pm FV
Sunday, October 27th
Fainting Goat @ 6pm Benson
Imagine that the writer and director and actors of Hamlet know the story they want to tell, but get lost at a frat party on their way to the show. Full of Shakespeare, drinking games, improv, lively music, and heart, our Lit series returns to visit HamLIT, a smash(ed) hit from our 2016 season. Adults only. A bold and irreverent brew with notes of tragedy balanced by uproarious hilarity.
December 5-7, 12- 14
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Our annual Christmas concert returns, this time with a splash of Honey. Featuring the familiar gospel music that’s always at the heart of our Behold, our 2019 offering includes a special focus on the Mary story and the women of Sweet Tea Shakespeare (but dudes are around, too). Behold’s reputation as a reflective, stirring, and heartfelt Christmastime celebration always holds true. A warm and comforting seasonal blend.
Directed by KP Powell
January 2-26, 2020
January 2-5, January 9-12 & January 16-19
Vizcaya Villa | Fayetteville, Nc
January 14 & 15
Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC
January 23- January 26
William Peace University | Raleigh, NC
Shakespeare’s ultimate story of ambition, legacy, and evil, Macbeth tells the story of the would-be king of Scotland and his wife, who encounter witches, plot murders, and brew trouble on their way to the throne. Directed by actor, director, lyricist, and stage veteran KP Powell, this production marries the best of the hit Outlander series with Hamilton’s contemporary edge. School performances available for private, public, college, and home school audiences, complete with available workshops, study guides, and lesson plans for teachers. A bitter and powerful flavor redolent of ambition and betrayal.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
April 23-26, 2020
Fayetteville State University
April 30- May 3 and May 7-10
1897 Poe House at The Museum of the Cape Fear
Shakespeare’s legendary comedy features lovers in trouble, mischievous fairies, and a troupe of well-meaning, but possibly incompetent actors. A huge hit with audiences, Sweet Tea’s production revisits the Victorian age, with production design inspired by Millais and a newly commissioned adaptation of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer suite — famous for wedding marches the world over — by Army musician and composer Owen Eddy. Part of the 2020 Shakespeare Comic Universe with Knight’s Tale. A light, summery spritz of love and mischief.
William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s The Two Noble Kinsmen
June 4-21, 2020
1897 Poe House
Inspired by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, this story follows the tale of two knights captured by Theseus, Duke of Athens, and their love for an inspiring woman of the court, Emilia. Trouble stirs when the daughter of their jailer falls in love with one of them and sets in motion a series of events that rocks the life of everyone involved. Both celebratory and serious, Knight’s Tale is a beautiful, visually inspiring, and sensory play. Part of the 2020 Shakespeare Comic Universe with Midsummer, characters from both plays will be performed by the same actors, and the June run will include special double features with both plays, a picnic, and our famous Sweet Tea party in between. A spicy blend of love and war, with a complex finish.
Justly or not, 2016 has garnered a reputation as a rough year. But for Sweet Tea Shakespeare, it was a year of excitement, challenges, and magic. Here are some of our company members’ favorite memories and moments of the shows of 2016:
“Shut Up and Dance,” the Tinder messages, Mercutio’s Burger King crown (and the fact that Lofton Riser had to go to four different Burger Kings to find it), Catherine Kelly twerking in a nun’s habit and killing that violin solo on “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” (Romeo and JuliLIT) –Hanna Lafko, Stage Wright
Watching Gertrude’s wine glass get bigger each time she walked on stage. Singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” while rolling a dead body up in a carpet. (HamLIT) –Katie White, Goods Wright
Marie Lowe leading the ensemble singing “This Love Won’t Break Your Heart” to open Twelfth Night. I was missing friends and family something fierce around that time, and it was super appropriate and made me cry. –Rachel Brune, Audience Wright
“Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and that one time that I wiped out during the invited rehearsal and had to improvise a recovery. (Romeo and JuliLIT) –Gabe Terry, Costume Wright
Michael Thrash pouring water on people was a particular delight. (Twelfth Night) –Jeremy Fiebig, Artistic Director
Justin Garland singing “Kiss.” (Merchant of Venice)
Jacob French and Tyler Pow wrestling in As You Like It.
Taj Allen eating things In AYLI and Sense and Sensibility.
Greg Griffin and Paul Woolverton bobbing their heads to Ruth Nelson singing “What is Love.” (Twelfth Night)
Seeing the backyard of the Poe House in full bloom for S&S. Lofton’s bluster (and pug) in same.
Thrash in his AYLI turban.
The first time I saw Tohry Petty and Jennifer Czechowski in their Mario and Luigi mustaches. Also, when Tohry didn’t die despite the best efforts of said mustache. (Merchant)
Walking in to the church to fill in for Orlando and getting suddenly, silently hugged by Jeremy. (AYLI)
Seeing Jessica Osnoe play Elinor Dashwood in a play she adapted brilliantly. (S&S)
Joyce Borum’s coffee grounds beard. (As You Like It)
The Mayor of Fuquay-Varina chugging a beer during R&JLit.
The countless times I walked into a space Medina Demeter decorated and went, “Wow.”
Justin Toyer playing Willoughby and getting so frustrated when people didn’t like him. (S&S)
Leisa Greathouse and her husband dressing up for S&S.
The look on Mary Lynn Bain and Tyler Graeper’s faces when I told them to teach everyone their choreography for “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The look on their faces during the bed scene in R&J.
And Jennifer’s husband yelling “That’s my wife!” after she sang “Sweet Child.” (R&J)
Ask me tomorrow and I’ll have another list. –Marie Lowe, Associate Artistic Director, Master of Audience and Lit
Duty! (HamLIT) –Nathan Pearce, Master of Dispatch
Anytime we sing “Dear Wormwood.”
The welcoming and charming reception we always get when performing at the library. Especially during LibrariCon.
Uptown Funk during S&S
Marie and Traycie to the rescue during AYLI.
Talking with an audience member at Behold as they were describing the amazing stage for AYLI and watching his face as he realized we were in the same space transformed.
Trying to make it through the MoV trial scene while slowly being choked by a moustache.
Marie’s Gratiano in MoV.
The absolute beauty that was S&S inside and out: how the environment and the show were beautiful reflections of each other. –Tohry Petty, Master of Gift and Hype
Seeing Marie take Lit from an idea to two successful, hilarious productions.
Gertrude’s ever-changing speech to Laertes upon revealing Ophelia’s death. (HamLIT)
Medina’s note to make “a sound of marital discontent.” (MoV)
Portia rejecting all the suitors. (MoV)
Ruth as Marianne singing “White Blank Page.” I want to cry just thinking about it. (S&S)
“Doors of Heaven” and “Like a Virgin” (Measure for Measure)
The nurse’s sudden appearance in the bed scene. Even when I knew it was going to happen, it stayed funny. –Jennifer Czechowski, Sugars and Volunteers Fellow
Thank you so much for sharing these memorable moments with us in 2016. We hope you had a beautiful year and that you found joy, solace, wonder, and hope in a play. Please share your own Sweet Tea Shakespeare memories with us, and join us to make new ones in 2017. Happy New Year!
A Sweet Fourth Friday
I always look forward to Fourth Friday in the spring: the weather is nice, the sun is up late into the evening, and a diverse array of people stroll the streets of downtown in search of something a little different from the usual.
We certainly tried to provide that at the STS booth this past Friday. In addition to exhorting people to spin our trusty wheel of Shakespearean insults and sharing details of our upcoming summer productions (The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure—reserve your tickets now!), we held our scheduled music rehearsal on the sidewalk of Hay Street to offer a preview of the delights that await the audience for MoV.
Early on, when visitors were sparse, we played some well-loved songs from past shows. If you saw The Cherry Orchard, The Tempest, Bottom’s Dream, or HamLIT, chances are you heard something familiar. Then, as the crowd grew, we moved on to the songs that we’ve been working on for the last few weeks—the hand-clapping, foot-stomping, folky jams that you expect from the WoCo as well as our take on songs by Rihanna, Drake, and Prince.
It was joyful. It was fun. We saw old friends and frequent audience members alongside people who had never heard of Sweet Tea Shakespeare. One of my former students who happened by sang harmony on a song that he knew, and it reminded me just how accessible and inviting this company is. We welcome you to come see us, to sing with us, and to enjoy a lovely late-spring evening in each other’s company.