The journey through Theatre history continues at Eastern Connecticut State University's  Harry Hope Theatre (Shafer Hall, corner of High and Valley Streets in Willimantic). Audiences last semester witnessed the roots of Theatre in African storytelling (Flying Home )  and Greek drama (Alcestis). This spring, the trip through time takes us beyond the Classical era into the Medieval period as ECSU presents Tony Harrison's The Mysteries  directed by James Simmons, British guest artist-in-residence. The play will run April 12-16, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.


     The renowned British poet Harrison collected, translated, adapted and revised original Medieval texts to create the trilogy of which Part I: The Nativity  will be presented at the Harry Hope. Harrison's work was so successful that the famous British director, Peter Hall, rejoiced saying, "we have a great poet back in the theatre."  The play has been restaged over the years with its most recent incarnation at London's National Theatre this winter.


     Audiences may remember James Simmons as the guest director of ECSU's 

A Midsummer Night's Dream  which played at the Harry Hope and in NYC last spring.

Mr. Simmons returned this spring to lead workshops and lecture as well

as direct. Mr. Simmons brings his expertise in the performance of British literature to the staging of this promenade production. The Medieval text is served exceptionally well by Mr. Simmons' many years of training at the London Academy of Music and Theatre; as an actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company and Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company. He has appeared on the West End, in film and in BBC productions. He is an Associate Director of the National Youth Theatre and Director of Tour de Force.


     Bob Ritz, Technical Director and Scene Designer at ECSU, is creating a set which will allow the audiences to experience the text much in the same manner as the Medieval folk of yesteryear. In this promenade production, the actors will create characters from the Bible and imaginatively set the many scenes before your very eyes. Deb Warren returns as Costumer and Deb Siegel as Lighting Designer to the delight of all who saw last semester's Alcestis. David Regan joins Bob Ritz for this show, designing and building many of the innovative props, which will, along with Bob Ritz's props and set pieces, playfully transform the characters and scenes in full view of the audience.


     As this is a promenade production, the audience should be prepared to be in the midst of the action as in Medieval days and, later, at Shakespeare's Globe. Tickets for The Mysteries  are $8 for Students and Senior Citizens; $10 for the General Public and may be reserved in advance by calling the Box Office at (860) 465-5123.