DOREEN SAYEGH - SHAKESPEARE 400 CHICAGO
"I think that Shakespeare really does live in this city, and it’s so clear to see in this year that you have the spirit of Chicago, the grittiness, the strength, the poetry of it really does meet this playwright in an incredible way. It’s why the largest celebration of Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy is happening in Chicago … because the city wants it." – Doreen Sayegh, Festival Producer, Shakespeare 400 Chicago Listen to entire podcast HERE
In 1616, William Shakespeare shuffled off (his) mortal coil, reason enough 400 years later for an international celebration fit for a King!
In 2016, culminating years of preparation, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater has launched Shakespeare 400 Chicago, an ambitious program series that has brought together cultural and educational institutions, national and intentional theater companies, performing artists and scholars to present their own impressive contribution to the celebration.
Festival Producer, Doreen Sayegh, joined the conversation on August 26, 2016 to discuss everything that has been happening twixt wake and sleep, including what's coming up this fall and a treasury of everlasting “scholarly” joy called City Desk 400.
Doreen on the collective nature of the the festival:
“What has been amazing is that Chicago Shakespeare Theater has worked with 60 different institutions across the city to program 850 events in 2016 ... we have artists and institutions from all disciplines that are pulling together and reflecting on what Shakespeare means to Chicago … bringing in international perspectives, trying to show Shakespeare across the genres and forms … we even have a culinary strand where 38 different restaurants - 38 of Chicago’s greatest chefs- are interpreting Shakespeare’s titles.”
What she loves about her job:
“I feel very lucky to be working on this festival …. to have incredible partners like Barbara [Gaines] and Criss [Henderson] who are inspiring and really daring … who also took the chance on someone who’s young in their career to help them pull this together. For me I’ve loved how much the city has come around this. I don’t think any of us imagined it. I think we hoped for it, and we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but you see all of these institutions and all of these audience members really excited about the idea that their city is uniting around a theme … that the theme has been universally celebrated for 400 years and still resonates in all of these different ways.”
On the diversity within the festival:
“Some theaters that we brought in are full of classically trained actors who have done Shakespeare all their life and do these beautiful interpretations. And some of them have conflicted relationships with Shakespeare but have taken a work of his and have used their own cultural lens and experience to produce something that matters to them and their community … to have both of those things under the same festival umbrella is incredibly exciting to me and sort of a gift to be able to see that.”
What Chicago audiences will take away from the festival:
“Audiences will have felt that their city is full of incredible cultural and creative organizations. I think that Shakespeare really does live in this city, and it’s so clear to see in this year that you have the spirit of Chicago, the grittiness, the strength, the poetry of it really does meet this playwright in an incredible way. It’s why the largest celebration of Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy is happening in Chicago … because the city wants it. My goal for the year has really been that everybody feels this festival in some way …. that something has reached them. I hope that people feel the spirit of Shakespeare in the city and excited about exploring the city.”
Listen to the podcast HERE
City Desk 400: HERE
More information on Shakespeare 400 HERE