Midsummer Stages caps inaugural year with weekend performances

Aug 14, 2021

MARION — “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

Midsummer Stages, a youth theater program run by Jacob Sherburne and facilitated by the Marion Art Center, finished its inaugural year with a performance of one of Shakespeare’s funniest comedies on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Sherburne said A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the perfect piece for the first year of the program because it’s light and fun, seasonally relevant, and relatable to the middle and high school crowd. He even adapted the play to include pop culture references like essential workers and lip-syncing interludes.

“If you’re going to do Shakespeare, It’s hard not to start with Midsummer,” said Sherburne, adding that since the play deals with young people encountering the first trials of adulthood, seeing it performed by 12- to 16-year-olds is especially fun.

“As the kids would say, it hits different,” he said.

Pam Cook, who attended the play and whose daughter Charlotte played an essential worker, said she loved it.

“It was a wonderful program,” she said. “This was an amazing culmination of their work all summer long.”

Sherburne said the seven-week program included play rehearsals, theater games, and yoga and is expected to go again next summer.

He said one of the best parts of the program was seeing the friendships develop between the young actors and the confidence it gave them.

“It’s a really good transitional program from middle school to high school,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a kid that doesn’t feel better about themselves.”

The cast includes Jade Beauregard, Alanna Robidoux-Couto, Lyra Demendonca, Zoe Pateakos, Charlotte Cook, Ava Duponte, Amelia Russell, and Harry Wisner. Participating professional actors include Camerin Bennett, Margo Wilson Ruggiero, Jacob Sherburne, and Rick Sherburne, with choreography by Summer Richardson and program assistance from Elke Pierre.

The costumes, one of the highlights of the show, were designed by Sherburne and students Amelia Russel and Harry Raznikov.

The 10 a.m. performance, which ended just moments before an afternoon storm moved in, was the first of three to take place at the Robert O. Broomhead Bandstand in Marion this weekend, weather permitting.