TARPON SPRINGS - First auditions for The Semi-Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Dee O’Brien, are May 4 and 5, 7 p.m., at Heritage Museum, 100 Beekman Lane, Tarpon Springs. The show is scheduled on July 25-27.
Dee O’Brien taught English literature and creative writing for 36 years in New York’s Westchester County schools. In 1974, she also founded “The Semi-Royal Shakespeare Company,” an organization dedicated to introducing Shakespeare to high school students.
She ended up directing and costuming more than 4,000 young people in countless full-length productions of Shakespeare. She still gets calls from former students who share how much they learned about acting, public speaking, self-esteem and teamwork.
O’Brien and her husband recently retired to Florida, but she was not ready to sit back and rest on her laurels. She contacted Kathleen Monahan, the director of the Tarpon Arts program of the city of Tarpon Springs, to enquire about starting a program here. Enthusiastic to share her three decades of experience and the joy she finds in working with young people, her first project is called “Lovers & Madmen” and will be staged July 25-27.
Auditions are open to all young people, experienced or not, ages 14 to 30. Cast includes up to 11 male and 10 female roles, which may be doubled.
The Semi-Royal Shakespeare Company’s first Tarpon Springs production is a compilation of scenes from tragedies and comedies called “Lovers & Madmen” and will include such lovers and madmen as King Lear, Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, Petruchio, Katharina, Rosalind, Touchstone, the merry wives of Windsor, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander.