New Genesis Productions Youth Theatre stages As You Like It

Previous New Genesis Production (photo by Ted Ojarovasky)

As William Shakespeare wrote:“Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.” This summer, 50 young people will refuse to act their age, trading texting for the high diction of the Bard of Avon in two fully staged productions of his plays.

In celebration of its tenth summer season, New Genesis Productions Youth Theatre proudly presents William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Friday through Sunday, July 13 to 15) and Twelfth Night (Friday through Sunday, July 27 to 29) at the Little Globe Outdoor Theatre in West Shokan. The cast members, ages 7 to 17, train in acting, voice and movement during each two-week camp session, culminating in a weekend’s worth of performances on an outdoor stage amid the Catskill Mountains, overlooking the Ashokan Reservoir.

The Little Globe stage is built upon the stone foundation of the former farm’s chicken coop. Wooden bench seating is available, or bring your blankets and folding chairs for the lawn. A concession stand nonpareil, with foods savory and sweet, rounds out the early evening experience.

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“It is the real deal,” said Ron Aja, producing director. “These kids are playing it out fully, and it’s quite amazing. They’re not intimidated by the language; they have the faculty to absorb the language as if it’s their own.”

Aja co-founded the non-profit youth theatre company with artistic director Lesley Sawhill, who is also the children’s librarian at the Woodstock Public Library. The non-profit has trained hundreds of young actors in the performing arts since 2002.

Some of the cast of Twelfth Night have been with New Genesis Productions since its inception. “It is absolutely amazing to watch them grow,” said Aja, “and it’s heartbreaking to watch them leave. To first see 8-year-olds take on a Shakespearean role with ease, and then witness the performers they become – you know that they’re going to stay with it, and they’re going to be our new stars.”

New Genesis Production Youth Theatre presents William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Fri.-Sun., July 13-15) and Twelfth Night (Fri.-Sun., July 27-29) at the Little Globe Outdoor Stage, 23 Vision Path, West Shokan. All performances begin at 5 p.m. Suggested donation is $8. For more information, visit www.newgenesisproductions.org.

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