CAIRO- Pope’s Museum, in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia National Endowment for the Arts, hosted the Southern Shakespeare Company on Saturday for a free performance of the complete works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

The show features three actors who present all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 minutes through comedy and parody. A smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the show has toured the United States and had a stint on Broadway. The performance on Saturday featured both local and professional actors from the Tallahassee area, who were directed by James Alexander Bond.

Pope’s Museum director Michelle Dean was excited to bring the free performance to the Grady County public after securing the Vibrant Community Grant.

“We wanted to host something that would be free to the public and professionally done so the community could have more experience and exposure to the arts,” Dean said.

Dean also worked with the Cairo High School Arts Department to strengthen the relationship the Museum has with the school, but also give them access to professional actors and actresses to develop a repertoire with.

Dean explained when she got the grant, she knew she wanted to work with the Southern Shakespeare Company again.

“I had worked with them before and just really loved them,” she said. “We are so close to the Florida line and having them here really allowed for us to be an interstate event.”

Dean had previously worked with the SSC three years ago, but having them back for a second event turned out great.

Dean admitted the weather prevented several Shakespeare fans from attending, but was happy those who did attend had a wonderful time.

“In spite of the rain, people came out,” she said. “I think the most important thing is the reaction of the audience. I could tell a lot of people loved it.”

Moving forward, Dean would love to see more arts programs come to the Pope Museum as they are not only a museum, but a venue as well, hosting numerous weddings, banquets, and luncheons.

“We want to be known as a site that is self-contained and can do tours and have that historic recognition, but also host art festivals,” she said.

Dean admitted none of the events and art festivals would be possible without the grant and additional sponsors, though.

She thanked the museum’s numerous supporters and the Cairo High School Art Department for making the day a success.

While the Art Department did play a role in the day’s events, Dean said she would love to see more students of all ages take advantage of Pope’s Museum as it is a community resource.

“Laura Pope Forrester was a trailblazer and artistic genius for women’s rights,” Dean said. “To have such beautiful grounds and accessible facilities, it’s a great place for students.”

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