photo collage from Annie, Fantastics, and Chicago of characters reading news

Welcome Letter

A Note From The Artistic Director

Welcome to Phamaly Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We are thrilled to welcome you to Phamaly’s first-ever fully-staged Shakespearian production. We are even MORE thrilled that we are returning home to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for the first time since Covid-19 began.

When I first approached the incomparable Shelly Gaza to direct this production, my only requirement was that it serve as “a party.” In this time of so much universal turmoil, it’s important that our art not only focus on these issues, but also as a way to escape for a couple hours into the magic of theatre.

Further, the Bard has always been known as the crème de la crème of English Literature. Because of this, it is traditionally inaccessible to those with disabilities.  Many in our community have only gotten to know Shakespeare through a didactic lens of an English class. But Shakespeare is so much more than that. The four most commonly used words in Shakespeare’s texts are: eyes, mind, reason, and love. I fully believe that these four words constitute the entire human existence.

For a theatre company whose overall mission is to upend the traditional narrative of the disabled community being “less than,” it was only a matter of time before we tackled these profound works of art. In Midsummer, the lines between reality and illusion are blurred, and the play’s magical forest setting allows for a playful and imaginative exploration of the human psyche. In the forest, that which at first seems impossible is celebrated, which is a central tenant of our company here at Phamaly.

As you watch Midsummer, I invite you to let go of preconceived notions and immerse yourself in the magic of the theater. Allow the performances to transport you to a world where love can be both hilarious and heart-wrenching, where the unexpected can happen at any moment, and where barriers are broken down through the power of imagination. Please lean forward and enjoy the party!

-Ben Raanan, Artistic Director