Looking for first-class entertainment in the 501? Check out the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

This summer’s AST Festival will feature four shows to be presented from June 10-28: “Macbeth,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” the Broadway smash “The Producers,” and the children’s classic “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”
All four productions will be created from scratch over a one-month rehearsal and construction period by a company of more than 70, combining Arkansas artists, out-of-town-professionals, and college students from 11 universities.
Subscriptions for the third season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre are now on sale.
Tickets range from $10-$30 per seat, with discounted season tickets available online and at UCA Ticket Central.
In addition to the performances, this year’s festival will also include these special events:
• The Second Annual Bard Ball — After last year’s highly successful event, the audience will be able to again meet and be entertained by a special one-night-only performance from their favorite festival actors.
The event is planned at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at the Terrazzo Room at Michelangelo’s in Downtown Conway. Tickets are $30 per person/$25 each for two or more. The event includes food, entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets for this year’s Bard Ball can be purchased along with regular performance tickets at UCA Ticket Central.
• Family Fridays — Every Friday during this year’s festival (June 12, 19 and 26), families are invited to bring a picnic dinner and enjoy some free pre-show, family-friendly entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m.
• Father’s Day Special — The audience is invited to celebrate Dad’s Day with an evening performance of “The Taming of The Shrew” on Sunday, June 21, and a free hamburger or hot dog on the Reynolds lawn prior to the performance.
• Backstage tours and talk-backs after every show.
Season tickets, tax-deductible memberships, Bard Ball tickets and more information are available at www.arkshakes.com or at UCA Ticket Central by calling 501.450.3265.

AST profiles in NY Times

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre was recently profiled in The New York Times’ “Summer Stages” guide in the weekend Arts section.
“Summer Stages” features summer theatre festivals happening around the country and this year included such prestigious festivals as the Stratford Festival, Oregon and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and the Kennedy Center.
The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre was the only theatre in Arkansas featured.
“To be mentioned in such prestigious company is a great honor,” said Matt Chiorini, producing artistic director of AST. “I have no delusions that this puts us in the same league as some of these theatres with larger budgets and a longer production history and national (and international) reputations, but it hopefully identifies us as a theatre-on-the-rise and a festival to be taken seriously.
“We’re getting there, and I really feel that this is the year that everything comes together.”