The Department of Theatre will put on “Macbeth” for the annual summer Shakespeare festival.
Josh Blann, an ACU alumnus, was hired as an equity guest artist to play the lead role as Macbeth and will be directed by Adam Hester.
The festival will also feature a modern parody titled “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead,” which will be directed by Gary Varner.
Dawne Meeks, associate professor of theatre and dance, was hired last year as an equity actor for the Shakespeare Festival in “The Taming of the Shrew.”
“I think it will be really cool to have someone who has experienced that stuff and gone through that type of training and to act alongside him,” said Ryce Garren, junior theatre major from Amarillo.
Actors want to be a part of equity because there are multiple benefits, including a minimum salary, health, housing and being cast in shows.
The Actor’s Equity Association was founded in 1913 as the labor union that represents actors in the United States.
“Equity is a group, sort of like a membership that you join,” Garren said. “There are restrictions but also benefits for being in equity.”
ACU theatre continues to bring in professionals so students will be able to work alongside professionals in the field.
“I think it will help the actors on-stage learn more by watching someone with that caliber of acting,” Garren said. “It’s almost like a passing down of knowledge in a way so that maybe that knowledge will be absorbed by actors who aren’t in equity.”
Joel Edwards, a junior theatre major from Tyler, said he turned down other summer internships to be a part of Shakespeare Festival.
“It feels more like a professional internship,” Edwards said.
Some theatre students also get work scholarships for working the technical side of the festival.
Shakespearean theatre is one of the most advanced acting styles.
“Once you get how to act Shakespeare, everything else makes so much sense,” Edwards said. “It teaches so much about acting.”
While many of the shows at ACU are marketed specifically toward ACU students and faculty, Shakespeare Festival is geared toward the Abilene community.
“It’s not just an ACU theatre show, it’s an Abilene show,” Edwards said.