Nebraska Shakespeare focuses on diversity as Shakespeare on the Green returns to Elmwood Park

Posted at 10:55 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 12:14:37-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The cast of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" took part in brush-up rehearsals on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus Tuesday evening.

The actors are part of the return of Shakespeare on the Green, the live theater tradition run by Nebraska Shakespeare.

The summertime tradition is back this season after a two-year break due to COVID-19.

"Audiences are happy to see us back in the park," said Tyrone Beasley, artistic director of Shakespeare on the Green.

It's been an uphill climb for the event and the organization, with challenges brought on by the pandemic leading to fewer staff and volunteers along with another issue going back further than the pandemic.

Beasley said the organization has faced criticism for not having enough diversity among the cast and added that's something he's trying to change.

He says creating more opportunities for actors of color in Shakespearean theater and believes it will go a long way toward making it relevant to modern audiences.

"Our audience is a reflection of our community," Beasley said. "Our actors and our crew is a reflection of the community, hopefully, that'll bring people in."

Beasley also hopes more people will translate into more revenue for the organization, which will keep Shakespeare on the Green around for audiences to enjoy.

The goal for Nebraska Shakespeare is to raise $135,000, the money would go towards hiring and retaining diverse theater talent behind the stage as well.

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