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To be or not to be: York County-based Shakespeare touring program moves on

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TUTT, a traveling Shakespeare show, will go on. Though discontinued by Dreamwrights in York last September, the program, renamed The Upstart Twilight Theatre, will continue to tour in York County this summer.
TUTT, a traveling Shakespeare show, will go on. Though discontinued by Dreamwrights in York last September, the program, renamed The Upstart Twilight Theatre, will continue to tour in York County this summer. - (Photo / )

Parting can be such sweet sorrow.

DreamWrights Center for Community Arts in York discontinued the touring summer Shakespeare program, Theatre Under the Trees, this past September.

"As with all good things, time brings the need for change, refreshment and forward movement. For myriad reasons, we have come to a place where it is time to discontinue this program. This is a very difficult change for many," DreamWrights wrote in an announcement on its website.

Now, the program's founders have decided to branch out on their own.

Michelle Denise Norton and Gayle Eubank established the Shakespeare program in 1998. Having grown a following under the former program's acronym of TUTT, the pair opted to maintain the nickname, but rename it The Upstart Twilight Theatre. Norton said it’s important the program continue.

"Our shows have been seen by more than 10,000 people over the course of time … there’s a reason why [Shakespeare performed outdoors] has been around for 400 years," she said.

To begin its new venture, TUTT raised nearly $2,000 through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, money that will help fund scripts, costumes, lighting, liability insurance and more to continue performing throughout York County parks. The group is also considering becoming a nonprofit.

At this point, Norton says TUTT is confirming some of its remaining show dates and is close to a downtown location for First Friday in downtown York. She and Eubank are also starting to plan a Christmas musical and a spring show.

"There’s nothing like hearing actors outdoors performing Shakespeare … there’s something about experiencing that as a community," Norton said. "The success of the Kickstarter proves that this program has had an impact."

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Emily Thurlow

Emily Thurlow

​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter @localloislane.

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