Experience As You Like It, opera and more with the York Circle

Imagine being able to enjoy world-class opera, ballet, theatre and concerts right at York University’s Keele campus.

In partnership with DigiScreen, and through their exclusive alliance with Opus Arte and the Royal Opera House of London, the York Circle presents the world’s most prestigious performing arts companies on screen at the University’s state-of-the-art, high-definition Price Family Cinema in the Accolade East Building on the Keele campus. York’s leading professors will moderate each performance.

“Each of these prestigious performances offers a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, staff and York Circle members to experience some of the best performances presented by the world’s most renowned performing arts companies,” says York President Emerita Lorna Marsden, co-coordinator of the York Circle.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, from 2 to 5pm, the play As You Like It, which features one of William Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage”, and is the origin of the phrase “too much of a good thing”, comes to the Keele campus. This Prestigious Performance captures in full glory the theatrical presentation of As You Like It at the famed Globe Theatre in London, England. One of Shakespeare’s best-loved works, the play is a pastoral comedy that follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden.

Above: Click on this screenshot to see a preview of the Prestigious Performance of As You Like It captured in high-definition video at the Globe Theatre in London, England

Enhancing the experience for those in attendance will be the expert moderation offered by York theatre Professor Mark Wilson, who is also the associate dean of academic affairs in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“At the preview of As you Like It, Professor Wilson and I were amazed at the brilliance of this performance. It is as if we were in the audience. Students, faculty members and staff are invited to join York Circle Members to participate and see what can be done with the performing arts, full high-definition video and the knowledge our faculty experts bring to the event. It is very exciting!” says Marsden.

“In November, you’ll see the music of Ray Charles with Professor Ron Westray moderating the film. It features Wynton Marsalis, Nora Jones and Willie Nelson,” says Marsden. “Professor Westray performed with Wynton Marsalis for 11 years.”

During York Circle’s presentation of As You Like It, audience members will learn from Wilson how actors work to locate the heart, humanity and humour that is essential in bringing a Shakespearean character to life onstage. They will also hear from Wilson about the choices actors make in their preparation that enable them to soar in performance. During intermission, Wilson will  be available to compare notes with audience members about this superlative production.

York Circle members, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the As You Like It website to read four compelling blogs (under “Discover the play”) by actors in the production. Seeing this dazzling digital presentation of As You Like It also invites comparison with the much-lauded production currently playing at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, directed by Des McAnuff.

Tickets to this event and others in the series are now available. The Prestigious Performances Series offer world-class concerts, theatre, opera and ballet, presented in high-definition format, from venues such as Covent Garden in London, the Palais Garnier in Paris, Teatro Real in Madrid, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Other performances include a concert featuring the music of the late jazz icon Ray Charles with commentary by York music Professor Ronald Westray on Nov. 21 at 2pm, a presentation of Romeo and Juliet on Feb. 6, 2011, and a presentation of Puccini’s opera La Bohème on April 10, 2011.

The presentation of York Circle’s Prestigious Performances Series has been made possible through generous support from print media sponsors the Toronto Community News and the York Region Media Group, and York Circle’s program partner, the Alumni Office.

For more on these performances, visit the York Circle website.