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Henley Street Theater’s Bootleg Ball Will Get You Partying For A Cause

1920’s black and white attire is encouraged and other entertainment includes blackjack and roulette, speakeasy fare, bathtub gin and an auction.

SarahKing | May 14, 2014

The excitement of the roaring ‘20’s will collide with the grandeur of the Shakespearean era this Saturday at the Henley Street Theatre’s second annual Bootleg Ball fundraiser.

The event is from 7-11p.m. and tickets are $150 per couple or $100 per person, which includes an open bar and $100 of “funny money” for the gambling tables. 1920’s black and white attire is encouraged and other entertainment includes blackjack and roulette, speakeasy fare, bathtub gin and an auction.

“The event is named after our biggest event of the year, the bootleg Shakespeare production which has a cult-like following. It’s every year around Halloween and an experience like no other. It’s usually sold out within 10 minutes,” said managing director of the theatre Jacqueline O’Connor.

O’Connor explained that the actors in the play have thirty days to memorize lines and do not rehearse together until 7 a.m. the day of the show when they do loose blocking. She said there’s usually a theme and a rock ‘n’ roll band up on stage, and that there’s a lot of high intensity interaction between the actors and audience.

“This year on Nov. 1, we’re putting on Anthony and Cleopatra. It’s just such an adrenaline rush for actors and audience members; it’s all very high energy. It’s at the VMFA this year and tickets are free to the public,” she added.

The theatre, named after the street where Shakespeare was born, is committed to staging classical, contemporary and affordable works with their roots in Shakespearean pieces. The theatre’s website advertises Saturday’s event as “a swanky speakeasy to benefit Henley street theatre and Richmond Shakespeare.”

O’Connor said last year’s event garnered a little over 100 attendees and she expects a similar turnout this year. The Robbins Foundation, an organization committed to the arts, is donating the space for the ball this year, and highlights include an open bar and catered food.

TV 8 anchor Juan Conde will be guest hosting and John Bryan, the president of CultureWorks and former head of fundraising for VCU’s School of the Arts, will receive the annual Richmond Folio Award.

“The award is named for someone who has dedicated their life to the arts. John Bryan’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the city and he’s about to retire. It’s well deserved,” O’Connor said.

Tickets for Saturday’s ball can be purchased on the Henley Street Theatre website.

“I think it’s ging to be a really good time, so come out and enjoy!” O’Connor said.