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Center named after writer looks to a future where Santa Fe lures in fans for world-class productions

Joanna Read of the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art is shown working with students. She will lead workshops in Santa Fe in February through the auspices of the International Shakespeare Center. (Courtesy of LAMDA)

Joanna Read of the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art is shown working with students. She will lead workshops in Santa Fe in February through the auspices of the International Shakespeare Center. (Courtesy of LAMDA)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe’s very own Globe Theatre, offering world-quality presentations of Shakespeare’s works, drawing fans from around the country and even farther afield?

It may sound like a fantasy to some, but it’s the long-term vision of the ambitiously named International Shakespeare Center formed right here in the City Different.

For now, though, the center, whose roots extend some seven years back but coalesced last August around the anticipated arrival of Shakespeare’s First Folio at the New Mexico Museum of Art next month, is putting together a calendar full of events tied to that event but also extending through the year.

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As a matter of fact, in 2017, look for a youth Shakespeare festival in Santa Fe to celebrate and assist young people’s discoveries of the centuries-old plays and sonnets, and this August, see what performances the New York City-based Ducdame Ensemble, formed by graduates of the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, brings to Santa Fe for a two-week run.

“The groundwork has been going on for years,” said Caryl Farkas, the group’s president and one of its founders.

Farkas, who worked with a youth Shakespeare group and other theatrical organizations in Madison, Wis., connected here with Robin Williams, one of the Santa Fe scholars of record for the First Folio project.

Williams also leads the Santa Fe Shakespeare Close Readers, a group that meets Sundays at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Well, two groups, actually – Farkas said the sessions became so popular that an afternoon meeting was added after the morning meeting.

“This is the most active Close Readers group in the country,” Farkas said. “They maybe cover 100 lines of text in a two-hour period. They’re looking at it very deeply – getting a sense of the language, its deep meaning.”

Actors from The Ducdame Ensemble perform in “Fuente Ovejuna” by Lope de Vega, which won a top award at NYC Fringe. The ensemble will present works by Shakespeare in Santa Fe. (Courtesy of Katrin Talbot)

Actors from The Ducdame Ensemble perform in “Fuente Ovejuna” by Lope de Vega, which won a top award at NYC Fringe. The ensemble will present works by Shakespeare in Santa Fe. (Courtesy of Katrin Talbot)

Meanwhile, Farkas’ daughter, Anna Farkas, who came to Santa Fe to attend St. John’s College, formed the Upstart Crows in August 2014, a troupe of youths aged 6 to 16 who perform Shakespeare’s works.

“Anna has been doing Shakespeare since she was 7 years old,” Farkas said. “She’s been directing since she was 14.”

Anna Farkas, who took part in the Summer Shakespeare Course at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, is now director of artistic collaboration for the International Shakespeare Center.

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Along with Williams, other board members are Kristin Bundesen, a researcher and author who has used Shakespeare to promote literacy and also is a Santa Fe scholar of record for the First Folio, and John Tollett, a former art director for advertising agencies and freelance designer/illustrator in Dallas and Santa Fe.

As for a Globe Theatre in the City Different, Farkas said there’s no timeline for a bricks-and-mortar location – but wouldn’t it be nice to have one with a friendly pub nearby for audience members to discuss the plays after a performance? In the long run, she said, she hopes it is something that will grow naturally out of the center’s activities.

For now, she said, the group has done private fundraising and cast about for whatever grants are available, in hopes that more might be available in the future. “That’s why we’re building a track record,” Farkas said.

Some of the upcoming events offered in conjunction with the International Shakespeare Center are:

  • “The Winter’s Tale” presented by the Upstart Crows, 7 p.m. Jan. 21-23 and 2 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Scottish Rite Temple, 463 Paseo de Peralta.
  • “What is the First Folio anyway, and Why Should We Care?” Kristin Bundesen presents the talk at noon Jan. 27 in the St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art.
  • Pop-up performances of scenes from Shakespeare works by the Upstart Crows, 1-5 p.m. Feb. 14 at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
  • “Dames of Thrones: Women in Shakespeare’s Histories” presented by the Ducdame Ensemble of New York City Feb. 17 at the Adobe Rose Theatre, 1213B Parkway Drive.

A number of workshops presented by instructors with the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art in connection with the First Folio exhibition.

The center lists Shakespeare-related local events, whether it is involved with them or not, at internationalshakespeare.center/events.

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