Shakespeare in the Valley

Actors Liam Stilson as Jacques, left, and Caroline Turner as Amienes rehearse the upcoming Shakespeare in the Valley productions of “As You Like It” at Solon Community Park. Directed by Cleveland-based actors Tyler Collins and Delaney Hagey, the free performances will run July 13, 14, 20 and 21 in the park with food trucks, beer and wine available for purchase, with community members encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs to enjoy one of the bard’s most popular comedies.

Solon’s Community Park is not just for sports events, and that’s just the way Mayor Edward H. Kraus likes it.

In fact, when the idea came for a partnership with Chagrin Arts to bring a Shakespeare production to the park for the two weekends before Home Days, he believed it was a perfect fit.

“I always envisioned our park not just an area for sports but also cultural events,” Mayor Kraus said.

Shakespeare in the Valley’s production of the comedy “As You Like It” will be presented as a two-weekend outdoor festival-style event July 13-14 and July 20-21, right before Home Days, which begins July 26.

Food trucks and vending will be on-site and beer and wine will be available for purchase. Patrons are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs. “As You Like It” will be under the direction of Tyler Collins and Delaney Hagy, both Cleveland based actors, directors and educators with extensive Shakespearean experience.

“Solon is the perfect place to start because of Mayor Kraus’ real forward push to make arts and culture a much bigger piece of the offerings by the city,” said Chagrin Arts Executive Director Karen Prasser.

This is also a preview for Home Days, which has a different feel this year with no large-scale rides and a community block party theme.

“It all just kind of worked,” Ms. Prasser said of the collaboration.

The free outdoor show, which will feature eight actors, will be presented in more of a shortened version, with each show lasting about an hour and a half with intermission, Ms. Prasser said.

The shows on July 13 and July 20 will be at 6:30 p.m. with the shows July 14 and July 21 at 4 p.m.

“Solon is excited to partner with Chagrin Arts to bring Shakespeare in the Valley to Solon Community Park,” added Recreation Director Donald W. Holub. “The city, through its many activities, encourages residents to enjoy the outdoors.

“What better way than with a familiar theater classic in a new setting,” he said.

Ms. Prasser said that when she began at Chagrin Arts, one of the goals of the organization was to broaden their footprint in Northeast Ohio. “This opportunity begins that journey,” Ms. Prasser said.

She said it has been so wonderful working with people in Solon on this collaboration.

“Adding Shakespeare in Solon to the mix of offerings is tremendously exciting,” she said.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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