In December 2005, three stubborn, opinionated, and not likely to do anything on anyone else’s schedule or say-so friends hatched up the idea of a punk-rock, DIY Shakespeare theater. Having worked on others’ terms, it was time to work on our own terms.
Looking back, that is probably the point where most normal people would have left it, but as Yoda says, “There is no try. There is only do.” In short order we’d purchased this domain name, scoped out Barrington Hall as a locale for outdoor theater, settled on a play: Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. We set the show in 1963, and we opened the first North Fulton Drama Club show in April of 2006, five months after that first conversation.
We called ourselves many silly names over the last couple years. “Sticks-n-Stones Shakespeare.” “Guerilla Theater.” Now though, we’ve found the nickname we want to keep Punk Rock Theater.
The quote at the top there is from probably the most famous punk fanzine of the 70’s, Sniffin’ Glue. “Here’s one chord, here’s two more, now form your own band,â€ was a catchphrase in the punk scene, short hand for the idea that anyone could start their own band, regardless of the odds. If you know anything about punk rock, you know that Sid Vicious couldn’t really sing, but he and The Sex Pistols had fire, and they ignited their fans. Our goal is to take our cues from them, building a foundation to spark a fire of our own.
What follows is our version of a Manifesto.
- Do it yourself. Not just anyone does Shakespeare, we were told. Not just anyone can. Really? We disagreed. With a variety of Liberal Arts degrees between us and many years of reading and performing all kinds of plays, we were pretty sure we could do Shakespeare. As it turns out, we were right.
- Resist Authority. No one gets to tell us, or you, how you should experience Shakespeare. We will closely read the text, we will discuss and learn about the text, and we will present the text in a way that shows why we still study Shakespeare and why it matters. Shakespeare is, actually, for everyone.
- Combine Altruism with Self-Interest. We believe that Shakespeare is portable, applicable, durable and relevant, and that everyone can understand and learn to like, if not love, this balding guy from 16th Century England and that our interpretations can help with that process. That’s the altruism part. The self-interest part is that this is what we love, and it is what we want to do. We’re not going to be stopping any time soon.
2015, with 9 years of performances under our belts, we went out the way we came in, on our own terms. NFDC ceased operations with money in the bank and assets to be donated to other 501c3s, including other local theaters and most prominently and close to our hearts, the Friends of Barrington Hall.
Our actors and crew are performing all around town at many of the great community, semi-professional, and professional theaters in town. If you want to keep supporting live theater in your community, please visit Georgia Ensemble Theater, Act 3, Out of Box, OnStage Atlanta or any of the other fantastic theaters in Atlanta.
Thank you for nine amazing years. We loved working in the theater, we loved working with Shakespeare and taking chances and doing things that might not work and making a mess and then making something amazing. We loved having you come out to see us. Trust us, no one before or since will see Shakespeare done quite like this.