After sitting empty this summer, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan‘s new permanent site is being used.
Storytellers with different experiences share their own journeys and stories of their ancestors. Storyteller Lancelot Knight said he had to do extensive research and talk to elders before being able to share his story for the production.
“There’s a lot of their cultural backgrounds, things they’ve experienced and stories they know from the land,” Knight said about the other storytellers.
“We like to say it’s more of a land acknowledgment then it is kind of storytelling.”
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan had some unexpected challenges this year. As the permanent site was being built, the annual summer festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To have all of that not culminate together this year as planned is a real bummer,” Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan artistic producer Will Brooks said.
It was an unexpected time to start the first show and different from a typical Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan experience, but Brooks isn’t upset starting with Fireside Stories. The warmth and crackle of a campfire brings a sense of nostalgia.
“To be able to start the space with that, in an interesting way is quite a little gift that we’re pretty excited about. It’s great to go back to basics and back to the roots,” Brooks said.
The intimate performance presents additional challenges for actors.
“Now you have to really be engaged to sell what you’re telling them with a lot of eye contact, and it’s a little more nerve wracking,” Knight said.
Fireside Stories continues each evening until Sept. 27. Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is developing new shows this winter, and hopes to have a modified festival next summer.