Southern Arena Theatre prepares for its 35th season

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" is one of two productions that are being featured this summer with the University of Southern Mississippi's Southern Arena Theatre program.

The three person play aims to incorporate all of Shakespeare's work into a compact, high energy parody. Annie Cleveland, a USM senior, is a member of the cast.

"It's 37 plays in 97 minutes. We touch on all of Shakespeare's plays, some more than others. We have a twelve minute version of Romeo and Juliet," said Cleveland.

The cast says the goal of this production is to hopefully make the work of the famous playwright more accessible.

Quick changes and audience interaction are others features of this fun production. Sean Boyd is directing the play.

"So the audience members don't feel like this collection of removed voyeurs, they feel like quite a part, an integral part to the success of the show," said Boyd.

"Talley's Folly" is another play being presented this summer that features an unlikely couple in the 1940's trying to work out their feelings in a boathouse. Shelley Johnson, a USM graduate student, plays the character of Sally Talley.

"And thinking of a woman in 1944 all of these expectations are to be married and have children and Sally is kind of rebelling against that because she is scared," said Johnson.

However, the theatre this summer isn't just for university students, kids also have an opportunity to showcase their acting skills with the Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience Camp, now in it's seventh season. This year the campers are performing an original musical called "All Aboard."

The Southern Arena Theatre season runs from June 23rd through July 17th. For tickets and show times, log onto

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