By MATT CRANE
Working to realize her dream of presenting professional production of William Shakespeare at Mississippi State University, Professor Donna Clevinger has secured grants from across the Southeast to present “Twelfth Night” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Lee Hall.
Collaborating with several departments at MSU as well as the Starkville Area Arts Council and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Clevinger said the American Shakespeare Center will present “Twelfth Night” as a part of MSU’s Lyceum Series along with hosting workshops for students and community members on Feb. 21.
“The ASC seemed to have it all with wonderful productions and a strong educational arm having worked with all different ages,” she said. “I visited them in Virginia and it was a wonderful experience.”
Clevinger said she was excited by the theatre company’s performances and the opportunity for Starkville students and residents to involve themselves with the professional actors.
“The performances they do are energetic and they really keep the audience in mind,” she said. “What a wonderful opportunity for students of all ages to be able to engage with these wonderful people who love what they do.”
Clevinger said she worked with several MSU faculty members including Christopher Snyder, Gary Meyers, Mark Goodman, Ray Vaughn, Jude Landry, Tommy Anderson and community leaders to secure the educational experience.
“I am so blessed with the outpouring of positive response to this idea of bringing different types and ages of people together,” she said. “What a wonderful opportunity to come to a university or fine arts center and watch professional actors do a workshop for your students that might triggers some wonderful gifts out of them and take them to a place we don’t get a lot of exposure to around here.”
Working on the project since 2011, Clevinger secured the MSU Cross College Research Award and grants from the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau, SAAC, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Arts Commission and the South Arts Award.
GSDP Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Tourism Jennifer Gregory said the Convention and Visitors Bureau was pleased to offer a grant for the “Page to Stage” program Clevinger organized.
“Pulling together high school students and the general community, Donna has ensured this is not only a performance, but an opportunity for the entire community to learn about Shakespeare’s work,” she said. “She has worked very hard on putting together a performance from this renowned troupe that will bring the community together for this cultural event.”
Clevinger said she is excited about the possibility for the program to grow as more and more members of the university and community gain interest.
“Hopefully as a program like this builds, people will want to get involved and we are pleased and encouraged that this will be a wonderful experience,” she said. “It’s something special when your dream becomes a reality and when people are willing to take that first step with you.”
For more information about the American Shakespeare Center’s performance of “Twelfth Night,” visit http://www.lyceum.msstate.edu  or http://188.8.131.52/Shakespeare/index.php .