Epic Theatre Ensemble was proud to present the second edition of its four-week Youth Theatre Festival: Epic YTF. Epic YTF, a celebration of a diverse and inclusive community, fighting for social justice and equality, showcases performances from the award-winning after-school program Epic REMIX.
The festival took place from March 3 to March 21 at the National Black Theatre (2031 5th Ave, New York, NY 10035) and showcased”remixed” versions of three Shakespeare classics: Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and Much Ado About Nothing. In all, the three separate productions featured the writing of over 170 young people, and brought the work of these high school students and 20 professional artists/mentors to the stage in professionally authentic performances. Envisioned as a community-building event, each Epic YTF performance was open and free to the public.
ABOUT THE PLAYS
Much Ado About Nothing
Gossip fills the hallways, classrooms, and bathrooms of a New York City High School in this fresh contemporary version of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy conceived and written by Chelsea students.
Romeo and Juliet
The students of Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem set their Romeo & Juliet in present day East Harlem. Their production concept is inspired by the tragic loss of one of their classmates to gun violence. They begin at his memorial until an outbreak of violence between the Cap-u-gets and Monty-hughs sets Shakespeare’s plot in motion. They weave in new characters like Daquan, a foster kid recruited by the “Cap-u-get” gang. And Romeo and Juliet aren’t the only star-crossed lovers in their script – Juliet’s sister Coraline falls for a young woman and must fight for her forbidden love as well. Relevant, funny and deeply moving, this Romeo & Juliet Remix will make you hear the play in a whole new way.
The students of the Evander Childs Campus in the Bronx are asking three political questions in the wake of the 2016 election: who is fit to lead a fractured country? what is the “real” America? and, why are the lies of America so persistent? They chose Shakespeare’s RICHARD III as their touchstone, a story of the rise of a villain-king after the wreckage of a civil war. Their Richard is a master manipulator, rising through the 60s, 70’s and 80s to become the Mayor of NYC by creating six independent “personalities” (each played by a different actor) to deal with his political and personal foes. Theatrically daring, bold, and timely, this RICHARD III will make you laugh, cringe, and shiver all at the same time.
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