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'The course of true love never did run smooth'

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"A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Mike Speck is ready for a new stage of his career -- by making use of an old stage.

Speck, the new director of operations for the Chatfield Center for the Arts , brings years of theater experience to the position. He plans to make more use of the stage in the 84-year-old Potter Auditorium in the former school building.

Enter the bard.

The art center will host Minneapolis-based Classical Actors Ensemble for a performance of " A Midsummer Night’s Dream " May 7. Classical Actors Ensemble is a professional acting company that specializes in pieces and plays of the English Renaissance.

"We’re looking at not just being a center for concerts but a center for all the arts," Speck said. "As awesome as the music is -- and it is -- we want to expand use of the stage."

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Speck said he’s looking forward to seeing professional actors grace the stage, but admits it’s a bit of a leap of faith.

"We’re crossing our fingers a little bit," he said.

Producing a well-known Shakespeare work will help in a couple of ways, he said. One, the show itself, with mythical faeries and a fantastic setting can itself be a draw. Two, Shakespeare didn’t rely on massive sets to tell his stores.

"The neat thing about doing Shakespeare is his plays are made to be performed on a more open stage," Speck said. "There’s less in the way of heavy labor that needs to be done."

The Potter Auditorium does host a few other theater events. It’s home to Wit’s End Theatre and hosts productions by Chatfield High School, Speck said. Add in being in the center of a region rich in theater organizations and interest, Speck said he expects a good turnout.

"I’m optimistic because those high school theater and community theater crowds might be vested in seeing professional actors use that stage," he said.

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What: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

When: Thursday, May 7

Where: Potter Auditorium, Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 Main St. S

Cost: $15 student and advance, $20 door, chatfieldarts.org or 507-884-7676

Due to concerns about coronavirus, this performance was postponed from Saturday, March 21, to Thursday, May 7.

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"A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Related Topics: ARTTHEATER
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