Throughout the week, students from around the Permian Basin have filled up the Globe Theatre at Odessa College to experience some of William Shakespeare’s greatest works in person.
The performances are a part of the Odessa Shakespeare Festival which has been going on all week and will finish up on Friday and Saturday.
Odessa Arts hosts the event and the actors are from the Texas Shakespeare Festival as members of the troupe have performed for students from grades three through high school.
This year’s performances include “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits” and “Romeo and Juliet”.
Public performances will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18 and tickets are still available at odessashakespeare.org.
For Odessa Arts Executive Director Randy Ham, this year’s Odessa Shakespeare Festival has exceeded his expectations.
“It’s been fantastic watching the kids respond to the actors and watching the actors responding to being in the globe,” Ham said. “I say this over and over but this is my favorite time of the year, for sure.”
On Thursday morning, the cast performed “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits” which includes scenes from some of the biggest hits Shakespeare has written including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “As you Like It”.
The performances continued on Thursday afternoon with four other area schools showing up in attendance with Ham estimating about 200 students showing up.
“It’s a packed house every day,” Ham said.
On Wednesday, students from Marfa came to the Globe Theatre to watch a performance.
“I thought that was amazing,” Ham said. “It’s great to see these West Texas schools buy into how important arts education is.”
For actor Ashlynn Evans, who plays Lady Capulet and Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet” and Le Beau, Katherine and Hermia in “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits”, it’s been a fun week performing in front of the students.
“I got to say the younger kids are so much more active and loud and they really want to interact with you,” Evans said. “I love that. I don’t think I’ve ever performed for kids that young. It’s a nice treat for us to be able to gain all that energy from that.”
Evans, who graduated from San Angelo Central High School, talked about the energy she and the rest of the cast members get from performing in front of the students.
“I know, honestly, it’s been a long week which we’re having so much fun,” Evans said. “When we come in, we’re pretty tired but once we get that audience reaction, we’re awake and ready to go.”
For more information about this year’s Odessa Shakespeare Festival, go to https://odessashakespeare.org/.