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Known for staging innovative productions without unnecessary textual compromise, Aquila Theatre Company of London will present two performances of well-known plays at Lafayette College's Williams Center for the Arts. Shakespeare's King Lear will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, November 12, and the Iliad will be interpreted on stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 13.

Tickets for each cost $12 and may be purchased by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009. A limited number of special student tickets are available at just $4 for either Aquila performance. Inquire about this special offer for all secondary students in the region by calling the same number.

Aquila has been dubbed “one of the UK's foremost transatlantic touring companies” by The Independent, while Plays and Players has called its performances “vital, contemporary, and innovative work.” Directed by producer Peter Meineck and artistic director Robert Richmond, the company draws its cast from premiere theaters in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The actors have been trained at Britain's top drama academies, including the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London Academy of Music/Drama/Art, Webber Douglas, and The Royal Scottish Academy.

Aquila's performances have been held in London, New York, Amsterdam, and other cities in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Eleven highly successful Tours of the U.S. have been conducted over the past decade.

In addition to staging the two plays at Lafayette, Aquila actors will give three presentations at the Williams Center for the Arts theater during a residency from Thursday, November 11 through Saturday, November 13. On Thursday evening, Lisa Carter and Louis Butelli will present a techniques workshop for Lafayette College theater students on the skills of physical theater. Area high school acting students interested in attending may call 610-330-5010 to inquire about reserving space. At noon on Friday, Anthony Cochrane of the Royal Shakespeare Company will give a brown bag talk about the staging of Homer's two epics – the Iliad and Odyssey—which Aquila has adapted for the modern stage. Lunch may be brought or purchased for $3. At 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, Cochrane will give a family workshop on how to enjoy the stories of Homer's the Iliad through the medium of theater.

The performance of the Iliad and residency presentations are part of Lafayette's 1999-2000 Roethke Humanities Festival, titled “Modern Appropriations of Homer's Odyssey,” celebrating the epic that was this summer's common reading assignment for the Class of 2003. Held every two years, the Roethke Festival is named for Theodore Roethke (1908-63), a former Lafayette faculty member and noted poet of the 1940s and '50s. Roethke published several critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including The Waking, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

The Aquila performances and residency presentations are made possible by funding from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, which has awarded an Arts Connect grant to Lafayette College and six other sites in the region where Aquila is touring.

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