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Montford Park Players

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Theater

Mission: We seek to provide a professional-quality theatrical experience free to the public in an informal, outdoor setting. We encourage participation by people of all ages and backgrounds, and we celebrate our diversity. What we all hold in common is a love of Shakespeare and a delight in presenting his plays to our friends and neighbors in Western North Carolina.

Programs: Presented eight major productions throughout the year with attendance of 9,213, which included a 14. 6% increase in out of market visitors over the previous year.

taught weekly classes in technical theatre to a total of 23 different students

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is nothing more romantic than watching a play in the park. The actors are INCREDIBLE and the outside atmosphere makes for a spectacular experience!

Nancy105

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The plays are great, the atmosphere is wonderful and low key. We take wine and food, and eat supper there in the beautiful park. A hat is passed at intermission, but the plays are officially free. I look forward to it every summer.

Adrian S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with MPP for two years now, and I've loved every minute spent in the company of this talented and dedicated group of people! They strive to provide affordable, top-quality theatre for the community at large and tourists alike, and, far and away they succeed every time! Recommended for people of all ages and backgrounds to come and see why people are raving about the Montford Park Players!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Montford Park Players (with assistance from the Bard himself, of course) is responsible for nurturing a generation of kids in the Asheville area who understand, respect, and love the works of William Shakespeare. By providing free, quality Shakespeare every weekend in the warm months in a lovely outdoor setting, they bring Shakespeare's works to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it. I would never have bought tickets for my six year-old to go to a Shakespeare play, but I was willing to try letting him accompany me to free outdoor Shakespeare. The well-acted comedy captured his attention even though I'm sure he couldn't understand many of the words. It has been our tradition now for over six years to meet our friends and our sons' friends throughout the summer to see new plays. Now these kids have grown up with Shakespeare, and they are comfortable enough with the language to consider it fun. When the middle schoolers in our homeschool cooperative were asked what classes they wanted last semester, Shakespeare was a popular request. A favorite actor from MPP came as a volunteer to do a workshop with them. They staged and performed three scenes from Shakespeare plays and did a remarkable job. Now, they are beginning to form a Shakespeare club where they will do table reads and "pop-up" Shakespeare performances around town. Their interest in Shakespeare has led to learning in history, poetry, and other areas, as well. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities MPP provides us with every summer to experience Shakespeare and to use it as a way to share a love of language with our children.

Kevin61

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

They really bring Shakespeare to life. The actors go off stage and involve the audience. I've been to several of their productions, a few like Love's Labour's Lost I've seen multiple times. I truly love what they're doing out there and hope they receive all the help they need.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My wife and I met Hazel Robinson not long after we moved here in 1996 and were immensely impressed by her imagination, her selflessness, and her dedication to the devlopment of the Montford Park Players which she had founded some twenty years before. Over the past dozen years and more, I have taught several summer courses (UNC Asheville's College for Seniors, Center for Creative Retirement) tied to MPP productions and included attendance at a performance and discussions with director and actors as part of the course. The people involved in the MPP are absolutely remarkable, not only for their commitment to Shakespeare -- evident even on the few occasions when my wife and I thought the production was unsuccessful -- but also for their commitment to Asheville. Hazel Robinson as the founder of MPP has done an enormous, enduring service to this community. I look forward to many more summer courses in connection with the MPP.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After moving to the area and having worked in the theatre industry in the past, I was so happy to find a theatre providing professional, no cost Shakespeare Performances to people in the community. I was able to get involved with the theatre, meet the volunteers, board members and managing director, what wonderful people to go along with such a wonderful organization. This nonprofit truly stands behind its mission, giving the community great live theatre that works towards education, togetherness, and affordable entertainment.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Shows by MMP at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater are one of my great Summer joys. Truly, we are blessed to have such talented individuals working on their shows and the incredible, accessible, pass-the-hat price? Unheard of in this day & age! How special to have great theatre at a price that literally everyone can afford. What a gift.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of seeing the Montford Park Players in October 2008 during my first visit to Asheville. I saw the "Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged" with my best friend, Coral, and we LOVED it. We were staying at a local hotel and they had a package deal that weekend where we got tickets to see the Montford Park Players. We almost didn't get to see the show, but they added another performance for a Sunday night and we got tickets. If I lived in or around Asheville, I would love to see more shows.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

On a trip to Asheville in the fall of 2008, our hotel was running a weekend special that included tickets to see the Montford Park Players. Their performance of "The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare, Unabridged" was absolutely hilarious. I keep trying to get back to Asheville - just so I can go see the Montford Park Players again! If only I lived closer......

5

Donor

Rating: 5

"Hamlet" in July 2009 was also our first experience. We recently moved here from Miami and can say that Miami has NOTHING on Asheville in terms of culture. This was one of the most wonderful ways to enjoy Shakespeare, laying on a blanket under a blanket of stars, sipping wine and watching a phenomenal performace of a Shakespearean classic. Out 13-year-old daughter came to truly love and appreciate Shakespeare that night. We also saw the Dickens performance this past December. Minimalist staging highlighted the talent of the thespians -- no props needed if the acting is brilliant. We love the Montford Park Players and will catch every play we can.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first saw "Hamlet" - it was a date with my husband - picnic dinner in July in the amphitheater. Very romantic, watching the play as the stars came out. I've also brought my children up to see "MacBeth" last season. A little chillier, but still good fun (loved the Young Witch! Well, actually, loved all the Witches!) What a treat to be able to bring two jaded teenagers to something like that! "Wow, Mom, Shakespeare's pretty cool! And we could understand what was going on, even without understanding all the language." Thank you, MPP! We'll keep returning whenever we can trek up the mountain from little Lenoir.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When we first moved to Asheville, we discovered the Montford Park Players through a local entertainment publication. We thought this free, outdoor performance would be an amateur endeavor ... but something fun to do in our new community. Imagine our surprise to find professional productions of Shakespeare plays in a lovely amphitheater, complete with fabulous sets. We've been to several shows and each one has been marvelous. Everyone involved with the Montford Park Players puts their heart into each performance ... and we, the audience, benefit from their dedication to their craft. We feel fortunate to have found them!

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Even though it's "Amateur Theatre", this is consistently a professional grade theatre troupe. I enjoy every performance I see. 2009's A Midsummer Night's Dream was spectacular. My wife, daughter and I saw it at least 4 times and every performance was amazing! Asheville has a treasure with the Montford Park Players.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asheville is an amazing blend of natural beauty, interesting people and cultural riches. Since it's a place where I'd like to retire someday, I spent an entire month there during the summer of 2008. I rented an apartment in Montford to be within walking distance of downtown and the theatre. I had heard of the Montford Park Players and contacted them to offer my services behind the scenes. It was great fun being involved in two productions and I was able to witness the huge amount of time and dedication that these unpaid artists devote to their craft. The warm welcome that I received reinforced my desire to live in such an open-hearted place and to become a part of the arts community there.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I graduated from UNC-Asheville in 1973 and that summer attended what I believe was the first production of the Montford Park Players, As You Like It. For the past few years I have an entire group of friends who attend together. Usually in April we set out a schedule of Sunday evenings throughout the summer that will include each of the plays performed that summer. Then we set a food theme for each evening. We try to arrive in the park by 6:30 and then spread out a moveable feast. The Montford Park Players have taught me that Shakespeare really needs to be seen rather than just read. We have enjoyed so many years of outstanding performances and we are counting the days until the 2010 season opens! Montford Park Players are one of the many great reasons to live in Asheville!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first contact with Montford Park Players was as an audience member at their summer outdoor performances of two Shakespearean plays. This amateur theater group has been dedicated to presenting the canon of Shakespearean plays to the general public on a donation basis for 30 years, and continues to operate on the same principles, except that our popularity and success in recent years has allowed us to present a half-dozen shows per summer season, including a few classic non-Shakespearean plays. Our directors and tech people all work for an honorarium and the joy of participation outside of their "day jobs." The Players have historically cast all ages from the community, school children to senior citizens. Besides entertaining the local community, we also draw tourists who visit Asheville, allowing us to add to the value of the city for the tourist industry. Some of our young folks who have participated either on stage or behind the scenes have gone on to college and chosen theater-related majors. A few have made it to the professional stage. But the main value of this theaterical group for me, beyond its value as a training ground for young folks and as a tourist draw for the city, remains the goal of presenting Shakespeare's plays to the public---ALL of them, not just the popular ones---in performance, rather than allowing them to be merely literary works studied in school and forgotten once out of school. I was encouraged to think that I could handle a small role in "Henry V," and from there I progressed to other roles, including choreographing ball dances in "Romeo & Juliet" and "Henry VIII" and performing as a musician in "Cymbeline" and pre-show performance of "Henry V," as well as other acting roles for both male and female characters. I have felt included and respected, and enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. The participants in any one season choose the major plays for the following season and also Board members to direct the business of the troupe. The Executive Director is a paid year-round position. The Board chooses directors for the plays, and open auditions allow for free casting. If you believe in Art for Art's sake, MPP is the standard for a non-profit performing group.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children's theatre group reached out to MPP for a chance to share their love of Shakespeare. MPP allowed us to borrow costumes and perform prior to their main performance like an "opening act". The kids really enjoyed the experience and MPP were very helpful and welcoming to the kids. So much so that we were even invited to return this year for the same thing and they can't wait! Thanks MPP!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been attending the Montford Park Players' "Shakespeare in the Park" series for about 10 years or more now. I don't know if I would ever have gained such an appreciation for Shakespeare's wit and satire without their wonderful interpretations. The intimacy of the setting in the outdoor amphitheater cannot be matched, especially when the seating area is frequently included as part of the actors' stage. Last season's performance of Midsummer Night's Dream was a particularly special show, and even garnered local honors, being voted "Best Stage Play of '09" by readers of the local entertainment weekly.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Working with the Montford Park Players is always an amazing experience for me. I love the fact that they bring Shakespeare for FREE to a wide range of audience members - it's wonderful seeing little children enthralled in A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as elderly patrons who come back season after season, show after show, and have a new experience every time they attend. It's amazing what wonderful results a group of dedicated volunteers can produce!