Founding Artistic Director, Actor
Katharine was born and raised in Southern VT, growing up in Pawlet and attending the Long Trail School. During her six years at LTS, she was heavily involved in the Actors Anonymous theatre program, and it solidified her decision to pursue acting professionally. Katharine then moved to New York City where she attended one of the top professional acting institutes, the William Esper Studio.
It has always been an ambition of hers to return home to VT and create art. In 2015, Katharine produced, wrote, directed, and acted in the short film, “Van Money”, in and around Manchester. Having this opportunity to make art, at a professional level, in her backyard (both figuratively and literally) urged her to think harder about melding her theatre background with home. This led Katharine to the idea of putting Shakespeare on in the woods.
Shakespeare in the Woods (SitW) is an outdoor Southern Vermont theatre festival that held its inaugural season in Mid-August to Mid-September 2019, hosted at Northshire Civic Center - Riley Rink at Hunter Park.
Each production seeks to deliver a professional caliber celebration of classical text through an unconventional, modern, and socially aware lens, all while embracing Vermont’s natural offerings. Our first season consisted of "Much Ado About Nothing", "Romeo & Juliet", and "The Taming of the Shrew", and will be exploring the overarching theme of how we do and/or do not listen to womxn in society. Please visit the Gallery to experience the productions.
The core of Shakespeare in the Woods’ mission is: To provide exceptional quality theatre that celebrates the text through exploration of relevant social issues and themes; To make art that is accessible to all audiences regardless of socioeconomic or geographical standing; To engage younger generations of Vermonters through educational outreach that demonstrates the potential for growing the performing arts community right at home in Southern VT.
SitW is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. To visit our project page through Fractured Atlas, please click here.
KATHARINE MANESS, FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ACTOR
With SitW we have an opportunity to invest in theatre and small town communities. The arts are an integral part of society, and all the more important in areas outside of entertainment hubs. I figured out at an early age that I wanted to be an actor, and I was lucky enough to attend a school that fostered and encouraged this goal. While there are a growing amount of artistic resources and outlets available in the surrounding Manchester area- particularly in schools- we must acknowledge there is room for much more.
As of now, there is no professional Shakespeare being done in the Southern Vermont area.
I want to change that.
Shakespeare is timeless for a reason; at once capable of concocting past worlds and contextualizing topics relevant to this very moment. Shakespeare invites the mind to escape, imagine, and engage, all through the most beautifully written word known to man. My goal with SitW is to bring all of this to our communities. I want to invite audiences to get lost in our productions, and leave having had a full and rich experience.