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Molière’s “Tartuffe” to be presented during the 26th season of Shakespeare in the Grove

Tidewater Community College Theatre celebrates its 26th season of Shakespeare in the Grove with the production of the comedy “Tartuffe” by French playwright, Molière. This is the first time that the outdoor festival has featured a non-Shakespeare play.

“We are turning a new page with Shakespeare in the Grove and presenting a work by a playwright who came on the scene shortly after Shakespeare,” said TCC Professor Matthew Gorris, director of this year’s Shakespeare in the Grove. “We’re thrilled to offer this community event once again, as it’s become a local gem. There’s absolutely nothing else like it in the area.”

The free public performances will be held June 21-25, starting at 8 p.m., weather permitting.

This year’s production will take center stage on the Grove stage, located behind the Pass building on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road. A cast and crew of more than 25 students and veteran actors will bring this popular Molière play to life.

Shakespeare in the Grove got its start with a “passion and a plank” according to founder Ed Jacob, the faculty member with the idea to launch outdoor theatre on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus with its grove of trees and open spaces. What started in 1996 with four platforms to perform on, a limited budget, scenery and simple costumes has grown into a professional production with a full stage, vibrant costumes, lights and plenty of technical support.

“Tartuffe” takes place in the home of the wealthy Orgon family, where Tartuffe—a fraud and a pious imposter—has insinuated himself. He succeeds magnificently in winning the respect and devotion of the head of the house and then tries to marry his daughter and seduce his wife and scrounge the deed to the property. He nearly gets away with it, but an emissary from King Louis XIV arrives in time to recover the property, free Monsieur Orgon, and haul Tartuffe off to jail.

In the play, Tartuffe’s duplicity is finally exposed and punished. But not before the author has mercilessly examined the evil that men can commit in the guise of religious fervor and the dangers that imperil those who would believe only what they choose to believe despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Shakespeare in the Grove is sponsored by TCC and the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner; insect repellent is also recommended. Also, the Kiwanis Club of Chesapeake will be on-site selling concessions.

For more information, contact Matthew Gorris at or 757-822-5219. For current show information, including any cancellations, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and search for TCC Theatre.