CONTACT:  Lindsey Byars
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2023



ATHENS, W.Va. – The Appalachian Shakespeare Project celebrates its fourteen-year anniversary this summer with a new production of one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, The Tragedy of Richard the Third, to be presented at Pipestem Resort State Park amphitheater on July 21 and 22 at 6 p.m. and July 23 at 2 p.m. and also in front of the Alexander Fine Arts Building at Concord University on July 28 and 29 at 6 p.m. and July 30 at 2 p.m. All performances are free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

The Tragedy of Richard the Third is set amid the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York.  It tells the story of the infamous English king who schemes and murders his way to the throne, and his eventual downfall in battle.

Richard the Third is one of Shakespeare’s most exciting tragedies, and we’re going to do our best to bring that excitement to life,” said Executive Director and Concord University professor Dr. Gabriel Rieger. “Our production will feature Renaissance costuming and a significant amount of swordplay in the final battle.”

Dr. Rieger has long looked forward to presenting Richard the Third. “This play is one of the most thrilling and fun of all of Shakespeare’s tragedies. It reads a little like Game of Thrones, and I have wanted to direct it for a long time,” said Dr. Rieger. “I am fortunate to be working with a great new director, Julie Prince, who has performed with us for several years now. We are working with an outstanding group of actors, as well as our new fight choreographer Seth Abramson and our very talented costumer Chris Bone.”

The role of Richard will be played by Appalachian Shakespeare Project veteran actor Aaron Sudderth, who made his debut with the company playing Hortensio in their 2014 production of The Taming of the Shrew.

“Aaron has done outstanding work for us in the past, and I am glad that he was able to join us in this role,” said Dr. Rieger. “Richard is one of the greatest villains in Shakespeare’s canon, and already in rehearsal, Aaron is rising to the challenge admirably.”

“This will be my sixth show at ASP, and every year brings new challenges and new adventures that I’ll keep with me for a lifetime,” said Sudderth. “Richard the Third is a great play and I’ve had nothing but a great time working on it.”

Also returning to this year’s production is Karen Harvey, who made her debut with the Appalachian Shakespeare Project playing Gertrude in their 2019 production of Hamlet.  This summer, she is serving as stage manager as well as taking on the role of Queen Margaret of the House of Lancaster, whose terrible curses foreshadow the tragedy which befalls the House of York.

“We’re very fortunate that Karen has joined us again this summer,” said Rieger. “The role of Margaret is one of the richest roles in the theatre, but it is also one of the most difficult. Karen is doing full justice to it. Her experience and craft are an inspiration to younger cast members and serve to elevate our production.”

Harvey is a longtime veteran of southern West Virginia’s local theatre community, and most recently performed with 4Pals Productions in Bluefield, Virginia.

“It’s a real pleasure to work with the ASP folks again,” said Harvey. “I look forward to it every summer now, and the stage combat takes it to a whole new level.”

This summer also marks the return of the Appalachian Shakespeare Project to Pipestem Resort State Park.  “We’ve been performing at Pipestem for a couple of years now, and it’s always a great experience,” said Dr. Rieger. “The amphitheater is perfectly designed for live theatre, and audience response is always very positive. We hope that this year’s show will be just as well received.”

The Appalachian Shakespeare Project is a community theater organization founded in the summer of 2010 to present actor-and-audience-focused outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s plays in order to provide the community with an enjoyable and educational theater experience. This summer’s play will be offered under some conditions similar to those Shakespeare’s own company encountered. Much like Elizabethan acting troupes, this summer’s actors will assemble their own contemporary costumes and will perform with limited scenic pieces. The show will be presented outdoors under natural lighting conditions.

Audience members are encouraged to bring camp chairs and blankets, and to come early with picnic dinners.  The show has an estimated running time of two and a half hours.

Previous Appalachian Shakespeare Project offerings have included A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the summer of 2010, Romeo and Juliet in 2015, and Hamlet in 2019.

For more information about the Appalachian Shakespeare Project, contact the Executive Director of the Appalachian Shakespeare Project, Professor Gabriel Rieger of Concord University, via email at or via phone at (304) 384-5251.


Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.

The Appalachian Shakespeare Project Presents "The Tragedy of King Richard the Third"