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From Napa Valley College: A Sonnet a Week, an international 'Tempest'

From Napa Valley College: A Sonnet a Week, an international 'Tempest'

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Napa Valley College’s Shakespeare Napa Valley (SNV) is connecting local and global communities online in “Shakespeare Sonnet a Week,” showcasing local residents and individuals worldwide reciting Shakespeare sonnets.

Sonnets are posted weekly on SNV and NVC Performing Arts social media pages on Thursdays in English and on Fridays in a surprise language. So far, languages have included Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Russian and Hindi.

Shakespeare Sonnet a Week kicked off on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, with Barry Martin, Lucky Penny Production’s managing director, reciting Sonnet XXIII and Maria Villagomez, NVC senior dean of language arts, library and social sciences, reciting the same sonnet in Spanish.

Other reciters include Geoff Ellsworth, mayor of St. Helena; Jefferson Sbrissa (in Portuguese), NVC student; Chris DeNatale, Arts Council Napa Valley president and CEO, and wife Julia DeNatale, actor and Napa Valley Community Foundation vice president of community impact; Nicolette Morales (in Tagalog), NVC adjunct faculty of humanities; Matt Cowell, NVC technical director, with wife Olivia Cowell, Cafeteria Kids Theater co-director and teacher; Neha Vyas (in Hindi), Prague Shakespeare student; Brad Wagenknecht, Napa County supervisor; and Ksenia Kitaeva (in Russian), NVC professor of math.

Upcoming guests will include local celebrities and theater makers, workers, scholars and students from all over the world.

Sonnets will continue to be posted weekly through September 2020, leading up to the premiere of Shakespeare Napa Valley’s “The Tempest,” showing Sept.18—Oct.3.

To follow Shakespeare Sonnet a Week videos and watch past videos, visit Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NVCPerforms), Shakespeare Napa Valley on Facebook or visit

Napa Valley College’s Shakespeare Napa Valley to be featured in “The Tempest for our Time”

Shakespeare Napa Valley (SNV) is partnering with the newly launched Globetrotting Shakespeare to present “The Tempest for our Time,” an international online theater experience of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” on June 6.

In this moment of isolation, reflection and transformation, Shakespeare artists and theater makers from across four countries are joining Globetrotting Shakespeare to provide communities around the world with a digital live theater experience.

Napa Valley College theater professor Jennifer King is one of the directors for the project. King will direct the clown scenes featuring NVC Theater Arts alumni Benjamin Stowe as Caliban; Jessica Romero, a performer of Reduced Shakespeare Company and regular member of Shakespeare Napa Valley acting company, as Trinculo, and Matt Cowell, actor and NVC Performing Arts Center technical director, as Stephano.

Featured participants in Globetrotting Shakespeare represent theater leaders, directors and actors who have all worked for Prague Shakespeare Company, including NVC’s Shakespeare Napa Valley, Shakespeare by the Sea, The Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, The University of Houston and Prague Shakespeare Company.

Each year, King works with Prague Shakespeare Company (PSC) teaching and directing a play for PSC’s Summer Shakespeare Intensive program. “The experience has been incredible for my professional development as a theater practitioner,” said King. “Through PSC, I am able to work and develop relationships with some of the best Shakespeare theater artists and scholars from all over the world, allowing me to provide deeper theater education experiences at Napa Valley College as well as heightening my ability to direct not only Shakespeare’s works but plays in general.”

Earlier this year, Napa resident and philanthropist Penny Pawl set up a fund through the Napa Valley College District Auxiliary Services Foundation to provide financial support to send NVC students to PSC’s Summer Shakespeare Intensive.

In April 2020, Prague Shakespeare Company announced that its Summer Shakespeare Intensive had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Artists, scholars and students from all over the world were to gather in Prague for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train and perform Shakespeare’s great plays in Europe’s most historic venues including Prague Castle and the Czech National Theater’s Estates Theatre – where Mozart premiered “Don Giovanni”: in 1787.

The Globetrotting Shakespeare project is working to help support the artists and organizations affected by the cancellation of the Prague Shakespeare Company by presenting “The Tempest of our Time” as a donate-what-you-can performance, to benefit Prague Shakespeare Company.

The one-time performance of “The Tempest of our Time” will launch on June 6 at 11 a.m., livestreamed through or on Twitch at

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