Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre to assemble for 2012 festival

May 10, 2012
CONTACT: Rebekah Scallet, (501) 852-0702,




CONWAY — The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s 2012 Company will arrive in Conway on Sunday, May 13.

AST, Arkansas’s only professional Shakespeare Festival, will kick off its sixth season with Twelfth Night on June 7 at The Village at Hendrix College in Conway, with subsequent performances on June 9, 10 and 15. Twelfth Night will be produced at Wildwood Park for the Arts in Little Rock on June 22, 23 and 24.

“It is so exciting to be returning to The Village at Hendrix for outdoor performances of Twelfth Night, and this year we are adding performances of Twelfth Night at Wildwood Park for the Arts,” said Mary Ruth Marotte, president of the AST board. “Certainly these Shakespeare in the Park experiences will be fun for everyone, young and old.”

AST’s other productions this summer are Richard III, Big River and a children’s version of The Tempest, all produced in Reynolds Performance Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

Nisi Sturgis, a Conway native, will be playing two of the leads this summer — Viola in Twelfth Night and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III. Sturgis grew up in Conway and graduated from UCA. She has played prominent roles in Shakespeare festivals all across the country and has a recurring role in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”.  Dan Matisa, a crowd favorite who has played major roles in AST’s festival every year, will return to play Richard in Richard III and Pap in Big River.

“I’m particularly excited about the company of actors we have assembled for this season,” said Rebekah Scallet, producing artistic director for AST. “We have fantastic local performers as well as talented actors coming in from across the country, including New York and Chicago.

“On a personal note, it’s also very special to be able to work with Nisi Sturgis, who in addition to being an amazing and accomplished performer is also an old friend from Arkansas Governor’s School. It’s great to be able to share my first summer with AST with Nisi.”

AST will also host “Free Drinks and Fun with AST,” a gathering with select actors and directors of the 2012 summer season on Monday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the new Oxford American offices on South Main Street in Little Rock (formerly Juanita’s). Those attending may join the actors for a glass of wine or beer, then stay for a panel discussion with Scallet, during which she and her cast from “Twelfth Night” will discuss their vision for this season’s comedy. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about tickets, events or the 2012 Festival, visit or call Scallet at (501) 852-0702 or