REVIEW: Twelfth Night, or What You Will, at Squaxin Park

by Alec Clayton What better way to welcome theater lovers to the newly named Squaxin Park (formerly Priest Point Park) than a riotous evening of Shakespeare at sunset? It’s even better on a grassy slope with a scrim of trees and a peek of Puget Sound in the background. The play is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, …

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Olympia’s Summer of Shakespeare In Three Acts

By Christian Carvajal William Shakespeare will be celebrated this summer in a unique trifecta of his work on stage. Three theater companies have joined to create a mini-Shakespeare festival in the South Sound from June through August 2019. Beginning on June 28, Animal Fire Theatre has staged one of Shakespeare’s most outrageous comedies, The Merry …

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Summer Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Theatre Review by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS The Merry Wives of Windsor is arguably Shakespeare’s funniest comedy. It is also one of the bard’s most accessible plays. Animal Fire Theatre’s outdoor production of Merry Wives, using Olympia’s Priest Point Park as its venue, is hilarious, and the dense and sometimes difficult to understand Shakespearean …

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Theater Review: Animal Fire Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale

THEATER REVIEW by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Animal Fire Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale is the way Shakespeare in the Park should be done. The outdoor setting is a clearing surrounded by sky-high evergreens, and on the perfect summer’s evening when I attended, even the mosquitoes cooperated by going somewhere else. Despite a peculiarity, which …

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Shakespeare in the Park

by JONAH BARRETT All the park’s a stage, but remember to bring bug spray. Animal Fire Theatre returns for its eighth summer production, The Winter’s Tale. Hipster thespians know it as one of the bard’s more obscure plays, memorable mostly for the greatest stage direction there ever was: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” Detailing a …

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Animal Fire Theatre Company

Summer Shakespeare in the Park

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS After a hiatus last summer, outdoor Shakespeare by Animal Fire Theatre is back with the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, opening June 30 in the Water Garden on the east side of the Capitol Campus. The free production will take audiences back to Hollywood during the Roaring ’20s. …

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The Multitalented Kate Ayers

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS The Olympia theater scene is no stranger to the idea of a performer who can seamlessly transition from actress to director to playwright without skipping a beat. One such performer is local actor, director and playwright Kate Ayers, who has over 20 years of experience in the world of …

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Peter Beard and Jay Minton in Macbeth from Animal Fire Theatre Group

Animal Fire Theatre Group

Animal Fire Theatre Group was started by a group of theater students fresh out of the University of Idaho’s theater program. Inspired by what they had learned, they set about producing their favorite Shakespeare plays in whatever space they could find, with whatever budget they could pull together. Animal Fire produces one Shakespeare play each year (excepting a hiatus in 2016). Animal Fire’s company name refers to the “animals exercise” that inspired its founders at U of I and the fires of passion and inspiration.

In 2013, after the departure of Animal Fire’s founders for opportunities in other states, leadership of the company was assumed by Brian Hatcher, Scott Douglas and Kate Arvin. This new ensemble’s goal was to produce vibrant, relevant, high-quality productions of classical texts in rough, raw, modern ways, bringing out the true heart of each story. As artists, they endeavor to explore the breadth of human instinct, impulses, self and character. They still use the animals exercise, and other non-traditional rehearsal methods, to heighten physical and emotional awareness within the safety of a supportive arts collective. Its productions are free and staged in open-air locations all over Olympia.

The company has announced Much Ado About Nothing as its featured show in Summer 2017.

The Winter’s Tale

Priest Point Park,
2600 East Bay Dr. NE, Olympia

7 p.m. Friday – Sunday, July 13 – Aug. 5



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Guide to Olympia Theaters

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