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Youth Theater to Stage “Summer of Love” Shakespeare

Youth cast during the play’s prologue, which will recreate a war protest in 1967.

Flower power, doves and hawks, draft card burning, high society and counter-culture, and the Summer of Love will be the background for an upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by New Britain Youth Theater (NBYT).

Actors ages 10 through 19 will perform the teen tragedy free to the public on the grounds of the nationally acclaimed New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) at 56 Lexington Street in New Britain. Performance dates at the museum will be Thursday and Friday, June 22 and June 23, at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m. An additional performance will be held on Saturday, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Berlin Congregational Church at 878 Worthington Ridge in Berlin.

Shakespeare’s most popularly read and performed tragedy tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, the age-old feud between their families, and the effect that their relationship has on friends and family alike. The NBYT production will be set in 1967 in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the “Summer of Love,” and it will be inspired by the popular culture, counter-culture, and political and social turmoil of that time. Popular music that was recorded, released, or charted in 1967 will underscore the production.

The New Britain Museum of American Art has been a longtime supporter of NBYT; a 2015 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on museum grounds drew one the theater’s largest audiences. The performance at Berlin Congregational Church will be the first NBYT production at that location.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing another production to the museum and to be exploring more ways of partnering with them,” states Darren Farrington, NBYT Executive and Artistic Director. “The performance in Berlin—which has always been a supportive community to NBYT—is exciting for us as well.”

Audiences at the NBMAA performances may bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on, and are welcome to bring refreshments of their own. Concessions will also be sold at the museum performances. While attendance is free, NBYT will accept donations toward the cost of the performances.

For more information, please visit New Britain Youth Theater’s website at www.nbyt.org or call 860-515-8115. For more information and directions to the New Britain Museum of American Art, please visit www.nbmaa.org. For more information and directions to Berlin Congregation Church, please visit www.berlincongregationalchurch.org.

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