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Writer: Jessica Metcalf

Photography courtesy Kyle Long Photography

For almost 40 years, Actors’ Theatre of Columbus (ATC), a performing arts theatre troupe, has presented plays by William Shakespeare and other time-honored authors at Schiller Park. The 2021 season’s theme, “Changes,” includes plots that reflect the themes of romance, grief, and defiance of freedom in the face of oppression. Though the stories mirror a societal shift toward expecting the unexpected and the anticipation of change, they also include a revelation of hope throughout the performances.

Kicking off the 2021 Summer with Shakespeare in the Park was “Much Ado About Nothing,” adapted and directed by Philip J. Hickman and Cat McAlpine. Reframed to seem like a play-within-a-play performed by friends in the late 1800s, the eight actors enthusiastically tackle a fresh take on this classic.

In late July, ATC performed “Eurydice,” another Shakespearean play with classical Greek mythology roots. “Eurydice” follows the story of Orpheus as he seeks to save his bride from Hades, though this modernized version under Beth Josephson’s direction examines the female perspective of this classic.

The next park feature to follow is “The African Company Presents Richard III,” by Carlyle Brown, directed by David J. Glover. This play evokes the “dichotomy of Black Americans’ experiences throughout history: the constant battle to improve Black experience and culture while also battling for acceptance in a white-dominated power structure.” Through this adaptation, Shakespeare’s work is revealed in a universal and inspiring light as the actors and characters demonstrate the fight to be seen.

Closing out summer 2021, ATC is partnering with Columbus Children’s Theatre (CCT) to bring you “The Secret Garden,” adapted by Neil Duffield and directed by Philip J. Hickman. An orphan, Mary Lennox, is sent to live with her distant relative in a place that seems to be dying

right in front of her. Mary finds life once again in a small bit of earth that has been long-forgotten, and works to bring life back into the garden and her family.

For more information on the 2021 season of Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, visit


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