Local Thespians Are Inviting Audiences to Toast Shakespeare at Breweries Throughout Denver


Posted Tue, Jun 20, 2017

A BARD’S TALE: The Wit actors get together on a semi-regular basis to perform original adaptations of some of the bards most famous plays. [Photo: Mariah Hansen]

DENVER-What do you get when you combine the best of The Wit Theatre Co. and the best of Denver’s breweries? You get 60 minutes of Shakespeare, drunk.

Locals gathered at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer St, Sunday night to see the latest performance from The Wit, “A Midsummer Nights Dram.” The show is the local troupes most recent nod to Shakespeare.

The Wit actors get together on a semi-regular basis to perform original adaptations of some of the bards most famous plays. The reason these plays are special is the actors who perform in them. Unlike the actors in the Shakespearean performances that many remember from high school, the thespians in these productions begin drinking before the show, and continue to drink throughout the night, and probably after.

On Sunday the show started with an introduction to the plot as well as the characters-a chaotic love story filled with meddling faeries. Then the audience is encouraged to move about during the performance, especially if they need another drink, or to take photos and post to social media.

“We don’t care. No one cares. Shakespeare is dead!” shouted one actor, lifting his plastic cup as he finished the toast. The audience drank, the actor’s drank, then the comedy of errors commenced.

The crowd was lively and engaged, some of them returning fans and some of them brand new. At one point during the play members of the crowd enthusiastically joined a sing-a-long, and at another audience members nearly filled the stage when they were encouraged to be a part of the production themselves.

The audience is a major consideration in the plays that The Wit takes when choosing which plays to adapt. For their first performance nearly two years ago they chose to do an adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing,” said Kristin Horniotes, who has been with The Wits’ Shakesbeer project since its inception. Shakesbeer came from one of the founding members of The Wit Theatre Co. when he got the idea to do Shakespeare drunk, and everyone else ran with it.

“We wanted to start with something that would be accessible to everyone so we chose ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’” Horniotes said. She went on to say that comedies tend to do the best with the crowd, “really anything with more people on stage.”

But Shakesbeer is still new to both audiences and The Wit. At their first show two years ago the audiences was only around 25 people, and it was mostly friends of the actors. But two years later the production has grown, drawing audiences upwards of 100 people.

The audiences are still friends of people involved in the production. But it’s also drawing crowds consisting of people in the beer industry, and people who heard about it from their friends in the theater industry.

When walking in one of the audience members said that he had not been to a performance before and was only tagging along with a friend. His friend was quick to respond, “It’s like that YouTube show ‘Drunk History.’ If you like that you’ll have a lot of fun.”

The local theater company will continue to present hour-long adaptations of Shakespeare’s classics at various breweries throughout the summer. The shows are always free, though tips are accepted. Their next performance of “A Midsummer Nights Dram” will be on June 17th at the Thin Man Tavern 2015 E. 17th Ave. A list of all of their shows can be found on their website.



About Mariah Hansen

Mariah Hansen is a Denver-area journalist

View all posts by Mariah Hansen

6 Responses to “Local Thespians Are Inviting Audiences to Toast Shakespeare at Breweries Throughout Denver”

  1. Laurence Washington Says:

    Very Good Article


  2. Eric Uran Says:

    The article has just enough info to draw my attention and i plan to check out one of the performances.


  3. Shaun Hogan Says:

    Great Post Mariah! Your use of description and puns really entertains. Shakespeare never sounded like more fun than a sober audience and a drunk cast.


  4. Sean Linton Says:

    Very cool article! Your writing really encompasses the amount of fun there is to have at this event and it definitely makes me want to check it out this summer.


  5. Tyson Crocker Says:

    Great article, I really enjoyed it and it kept me interested the entire time. Never knew about the event and it sounds like it’s a lot of fun!


  6. Arrick Jones Says:

    Very entertaining article Mariah! I thought it was well written, keep up the good work!


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