The seed for the idea

Former producing artistic director Matt Chiorini speaks to the crowd at The Village at Hendrix.

A couple of years ago on a visit to Rosemary Beach, Florida, my family and I watched a production of The Tempest in the village square of the town, a setting very much like The Village at Hendrix. The seed of the idea for AST moving outdoors was born that day. As an audience member, it was perfect: live theater, a picnic, my kids on a blanket soaking it all in. Of course I had no idea of the hard work it would take to bring a great concept to fruition. I repeat–no idea.

The Village people (I love to refer to them in this manner) have been incredible–flexible, generous, welcoming, and undaunted by the prospect of their green grass being trampled. And the special events coordinators at Hendrix College have buoyed us, offering apartments for wardrobe and make-up and promoting us widely.

  • Twelfth Night – Opening Night – Thursday, June 7 – 7:30 pm
  • Twelfth Night - Saturday, June 9  - 7:30 pm
  • Twelfth Night - Sunday, June 10 – 7:30 pm
  • Twelfth Night - Friday, June 15 – 7:30 pm
  • Twelfth Night - Sunday, June 17 – 7:30 pm

Constructing an entire theater where there is normally just grass is challenging, to say the least. We have a crew like none other. The actors haven’t been spared from manual labor either. Each day tents have to be erected, props have to be adjusted, lighting and sound have to be set-up, and whoever is around gets absorbed into the action. And then there’s the striking of it all each night. And this is Arkansas in the summer.

But last night was the first dress rehearsal. And it was magic. A little mesmerizing, really. It was so amazing out there that we all agree it’s worth it, this outdoor theater thing.