Each year, Asheville School hosts a professional theatre company, the National Players, who bring students' studies to life. On Thursday, January 25, the National Players will present Shakespeare's "Othello" in the Walker Arts Center's Graham Theater for the school community.
The National Players tour in theaters and schools across the nation. They put on shows and lead theatre-related workshops for all ages. According to a press release sent by the National Players, "Since 1952, National Players has been the touring program of Olney Theatre Center as part of its mission to incubate and educate the next generation of theatre artists and audiences."
Chair of Humanities John Gregory says that close study of works by Shakespeare is an integral part of Asheville School's humanities curriculum. "Asheville School is committed to teaching the core works of Western Civilization," Gregory said. "Over the course of four years, every Asheville School student will encounter 10 Shakespeare plays. They will read one play in their English class each year— "Julius Caesar," "Merchant of Venice," "Hamlet," and "Tempest." They will see one live performance of a play each year performed in our very own Graham Theater by the National Players. Every other year, our own drama department puts on a Shakespeare play as well."
As students in the Asheville School Dramatic Society prepare their winter production, Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor," the National Players will work with them to help strengthen and inform their production.
The National Players include Dylan Arredondo, John Austin, Emily Brown, Melissa Carter, Benjamin DeCamp Coe, Amy Desrosiers, Kelsey Godfrey, Jared Graham, Simon Kiser and Shaquille Stewart. "Othello" is directed by Jason King Jones. Paige Hathaway (scenic designer), Seth Gilbert (costume designer), Sarah Tundermann (lighting designer), Roc Lee (sound designer), Kate Brittingham (properties manager), and Casey Kaleba (fight director) also serve on the production team.
"Othello" will take place in the Walker Art Center's Graham Theater at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, January 25. The show is free and open to the public, although seating is limited.
Photo courtesy of the National Players and Olney Theater Center.