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Sarah M. Pritchett
Concord University
Office of Advancement 
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
After 4 p.m.
Office: 304-384-5211
Cell: 304-320-6405

ATHENS, W.Va. – The Appalachian Shakespeare Project celebrates its ten-year anniversary this summer with a new production of one of Shakespeare’s most revered tragedies, ‘Hamlet’. Performances will be presented at the amphitheater of Pipestem Resort State Park at 6 p.m. on the evenings of July 19 and 20 and at 2 p.m. on July 21. The production travels to the campus of Concord University for performances in front of the Alexander Fine Arts building at 6 p.m. on the evenings of July 26 and 27, and at 2 p.m. on July 28.
This year’s production allows the company to perform one of Shakespeare’s most powerful and best-regarded tragedies.  “Hamlet” tells the story of a prince who must avenge the murder of his father, and of the tragedy which ensues.
“‘Hamlet’ presents a powerful reflection on the meanings of life and death, articulated in some of Shakespeare’s most famous poetry.  Our production features swordplay, intrigue, a mix of Renaissance and contemporary costuming, and a cast of local actors, some new to the project and some returning,” said Executive Director and Concord University professor Dr. Gabriel Rieger.
Dr. Rieger is very excited to finally be presenting ‘Hamlet.’ “This play is arguably the most powerful of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and one I have wanted to do for a long time,” he said.  “I am looking forward to directing it, as well appearing on stage in the role of the ghost of Hamlet’s father.”
The role of Hamlet will be played by Appalachian Shakespeare Project veteran actor Andrew Viskup, who made his debut with the company playing Romeo in their 2015 production of “Romeo and Juliet”.
Andrew has done outstanding work for us in the past,” said Dr. Rieger, “and I am glad that he was able to join us in this role.  Already in rehearsal, he is rising to the challenge admirably.”
Viskup himself is excited to be taking on the role.  “It’s been great to work with the ASP again.” said Viskup.  “We have one of our strongest, if not the strongest, casts in recent years and the show is shaping up to be quite the experience.”
Also joining this year’s production are James Dyer and Karen Harvey, two experienced local actors who are making their debut with the Appalachian Shakespeare Project.  “We’re so lucky to have both of these talented performers involved,” said Dr. Rieger.  “Their experience and craft are an inspiration to younger cast members and serve to elevate our production.”
Both Karen and James are veterans of southern West Virginia’s local theatre community, and most recently performed together with 4Pals Productions in Bluefield.
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 last year’s audience response was 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 approximately two and a half hours. There is no charge to attend.
Previous Appalachian Shakespeare Project offerings have included “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the summer of 2010, “Macbeth” in the summer of 2011, “Romeo and Juliet” in 2015, and “The Taming of the Shrew” in 2016.
Anyone seeking more information about the Appalachian Shakespeare Project is encouraged to 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 6086
if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.