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TCC’s Shakespeare in the Grove celebrates 20th anniversary

Tidewater Community College Theatre celebrates its 20th season of Shakespeare in the Grove by returning to its roots with a new version of “As You Like It,” the first play performed in the Grove.

The free public performances will be held June 22-26, starting at 8 p.m., weather permitting.

This year’s production will take center stage on the newly constructed outdoor “grove” platform, located behind the Pass Building on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road. A cast and crew of more than 30 students and veteran actors will bring this popular Shakespeare comedy to life.

TCC’s 2016 production is set in France during World War II, on the border of Allied-occupied territory, complete with the sights and sounds of the era. Director Trey Clarkson, a local high school theater teacher and adjunct faculty member at Old Dominion University, starred in the original Shakespeare in the Grove production in 1996.

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

Katherine Parker Smith as Rosalind, Catherine Gendell as the Dutchess and Alex Smith as Orlando“As You Like It” follows heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin, Celia, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, most notably the melancholy traveler, Jaques, who speaks many of the Bard’s most famous speeches, including “All the world’s a stage” and “A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest.”

“It’s a wonderful play in that it has a little bit of everything in it,” said Ed Jacob, founder of Shakespeare in the Grove and this year’s artistic director. “We see the world of the court and its politics verses the rustic life and its simple pleasures, along with philosophy, love, loyalty, clowns and comedy.”

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. In addition, for the first time this year, a different food truck will sell their fare every night from 6:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

For more information, contact Matthew Gorris at or 757-822-5219.