Quill Theatre’s annual Bootleg Ball to include 2016-17 season announcement, Folio award
Proceeds will go to fund the company’s upcoming season and its educational programs and this year’s theme is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“Dress for a night of magic,” said Jacqueline O’Connor, Quill’s Managing Director. “There will be yummy food, there will be frosty adult beverages, there will be gambling tables, silent auction items and dancing.”
The company will announce its 2016-17 season and present its Folio Award to John and Bucci Zeugner for their philanthropic work in the Richmond arts.
Without giving away what’s on the docket for the upcoming season, O’Connor said the company will build on the success it’s had over the last year. The 2015-16 season featured productions of American Buffalo, Stupid F**king Bird and King Lear. Still to come are Twelfth Night and the Merchant of Venice, which will show in June and July as part of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall.
“We try to do plays that you leave the theater talking about,” O’Connor said. “That’s our mission, ‘Theatre worth talking about.’ If you’re on the ride home talking to whoever about the play you’ve seen or weeks later then we’ve done our job.”
Quill Theatre also organizes educational activities at Richmond area high schools. The only Shakespeare company in the region, it puts on workshops and readings to help students with Shakespeare’s language, a part of the state SOL exams.
“It’s a way to kind of bridge the gap,” O’Connor said. “Because it’s a hard language to read, but we get the kids up on their feet speaking Shakespeare and they identify with it. Then they see the play and then they read it, so it makes it much easier at that point.”
O’Connor also said Quill Theatre will continue its Historic Play Reading Series in the upcoming season, which turns historical events in Richmond into theatrical productions. In February, the company produced The Top of Bravery: An Evening with Bert Williams about a Bahamian vaudeville star who performed in Richmond until city officials shut the act down because it featured black and white performers.
In December, Quill will collaborate with the Virginia Historical Society for a staged reading on Pearl Harbor.
“We’re specifically looking at the impact of Pearl Harbor on Richmond,” O’Connor said. “We’re bringing to light tape recordings, stories and firsthand accounts of how it impacted Richmond and we’re putting that into play form.”
The Zeugner’s will be honored for their support of Quill and the arts in Richmond. The couple has been friends of the company for over nine years, since it was known as Henley Street Theatre, which merged with Richmond Shakespeare in 2013 to become Quill.
“They’re both native to the Richmond area and they have really dedicated their lives to bettering the Richmond community through the arts,” O’Connor said. “They have really been our biggest fans.”
All told, the evening will be a celebration of local theatre and Quill, a lynchpin of the Richmond scene. Quill Theatre’s 4th Annual Bootleg Bal Ball will run from 4-7 pm at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design at 2501 Monument Ave on Sunday, May 22. Tickets to the ball are $50 for the general public and $30 for RVA Theatre Alliance members.
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