Moore County is well known for its high quality of life, and the many cultural options here rival those opportunities usually found only in more metropolitan areas. Residents here are always looking for new opportunities to expand Moore County’s cultural offerings.
Local professional dramatists Jonathan Drahos and Carolanne Marano are embarking on a project to bring Shakespeare and other productions featuring contemporary plays and musical theater to Moore County through an intimate evening entertainment venue.
Moore County already has a vibrant cultural scene, but Drahos and Marano felt that the area could be enriched with more live theater offerings, particularly outdoor theater. The couple plans to launch an outdoor Shakespeare festival, called “Shakespeare in the Pines”, at Tufts Park in Pinehurst later this year.
“Every major community in the United States has a Shakespeare festival,” Drahos said. “Shakespeare transcends everything. Shakespeare works everywhere.”
Drahos and Marano have directed the Uprising Theatre Company for 15 years between New York and Los Angeles, and they came to Moore County in 2014 when Drahos joined the theater faculty at UNC Pembroke. He has a doctoral degree in Shakespearean drama from the University of Birmingham in England. Marano is a professional choreographer.
The Shakespeare in the Pines festival is planned for June 2-4, 2017 and the inaugural production will be “Much Ado About Nothing”.
These professional productions will be more than just community theater; they will be designed as whole theatrical experiences – both on the stage and behind the scenes. Drahos and Marano want to bring professional actors and technicians from New York and Los Angeles and allow Drahos’ students at UNC-Pembroke and high school drama students to have supporting roles and work with the set, costumes, lighting and sound.
“Our five-year plan is to have a full season of plays in Pinehurst, both outdoors and indoors,” said Drahos. “This particular community is in a very unique position, in terms of the demographics, to accept something like this and to grow something like this in the community. We just have to do it right. We have to do a high level, professional production to really make a big splash.”
Pinehurst’s Parks & Recreation Department expressed excitement about the festival. "We think it will be a great event for Pinehurst,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wagner.