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TCC will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

TCC celebrates the 25th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Grove with “The Tempest”

Tidewater Community College Theatre celebrates its 25th season of Shakespeare in the Grove with a magical and mesmerizing presentation of “The Tempest.”

The free public performances will be held June 22-26, starting at 8 p.m., weather permitting. For those in the Deaf community who would like to enjoy the show, American Sign Language interpreters will be interpreting the June 26 performance.

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 35 student and veteran actors will bring this popular Shakespeare 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.

“People enjoy the atmosphere of Shakespeare under the stars. It’s summer. It’s a free event. And there’s something about being outside and hearing that old, romantic sort of verse and enjoying a picnic,” said Matthew Gorris, TCC Theatre faculty lead and artistic director.

Shakespeare in the Grove plays are pared down to roughly two hours.

In “The Tempest” the main character Prospero uses magic to conjure a storm and torment the survivors of a shipwreck, including the King of Naples and Prospero’s treacherous brother, Antonio. Conflict ensues but in the end, families are reunited and all conflict is resolved. TCC’s version of the play takes on magical elements, with an untouched island setting, complete with sprites to entertain and monsters to mesmerize.

“`The Tempest’ is a story of redemption and celebration that is especially fitting after the pandemic,” said director Trey Clarkson. “Our story is a celebration with live music, live dance and magic to fill the air as we commemorate 25 years of Shakespeare in the Grove.”

“Shakespeare in the Grove at TCC is a local gem – there’s absolutely nothing like it in the area,” added Gorris.

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.

For more information, contact Matthew Gorris at mgorris@tcc.edu or 757-822-5219.

Getting ready to perform “Hamlet” in 2012.