Elizabeth Thompson, Trinity Communications
English actor, teacher and director Jonathan Cullen, in residency at Duke this semester, will direct the all-student cast. Twelfth Night runs from November 9-18 in the von der Heyden Studio Theater in the Rubenstein Arts Center on the Duke University campus.
Cullen's theatrical career in England has included major roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theater, the Royal Court, the Old Vic, Shakespeare's Globe and numerous shows in the West End, including with F. Murray Abraham in The Mentor. Since 2010, he has often served as a visiting faculty member in Duke’s Department of Theater Studies at Duke University, most recently in 2019.
In his notes on the production, Cullen reflects that Twelfth Night, believed to have first been performed in 1602, wasn’t always a venerable staple of English theater. “It's hard to imagine, but this was once a new play, too,” he writes. “On some day in the first year or two of a new century, a talented writer in his mid-30s set out a clean sheet of paper, dipped his pen in the inkwell and started writing a play about a young woman called Viola….” In the talented hands of Cullen and Duke Theater Studies’ students, Twelfth Night’s themes of love and concealed gender identities take on new resonance for 21st century audiences.
Each semester, the Duke University Department of Theater Studies presents a Mainstage production directed by a faculty member, designed by professional theater artists and built by Duke students under the guidance of the department's faculty and Theater Operations staff. Auditions are open to all Duke students, who can receive academic credit for participating as cast or crew in classes centered on the Mainstage experience.
Tickets for Twelfth Night are on sale at tickets.duke.edu. Admission is $10.
View the program.
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jonathan Cullen
von der Heyden Studio Theater, Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University
November 9-11, 16-18 at 8 pm; November 12 at 2 pm