Women Who Rock The Stage


All the really enjoyable parts of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” that’s what you’ll get in this one-hour production.

– Sheri Rippel

May 29 marks the premiere of Lady Shakes, a female-driven performance company. Their debut production is Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”–but this will be unlike any Midsummer you’ve seen in the past. First, it is only one hour in length. “We just kept the really funny parts” said Shannon Reilly, director.

Second, the production is free, family-friendly and staged at a park near you. The troupe will debut in NOTO Arts District for a FREE performance at 3p.

Lastly you will see a diverse but all-female cast. “The cast is fantastic,” said Shannon, “but honestly, a few minutes into the production, and you completely forget.”

Lady Shakes was born after “Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – All Female Cast” a 2019 collaboration between Topeka Civic Theatre and Ad Astra to support Jayhawk Theatre’s restoration awareness efforts. “It was too much fun to let go,” said Sheri Rippel. “We knew we wanted to continue, but we also wanted to do something sustainable.” The troupe is currently 22 strong and began meeting last August. They are now in the final stages of becoming a 501c3.

Lady Shakes is a woman-driven, non-gender exclusive troupe. “It is free of cast-type. We want to include those whose voices haven’t been heard,” said Sheri. “It’s also an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone…put on someone else’s shoes. It’s a full spectrum of expression.”

“It’s an opportunity for anyone to explore roles they have not been able to play in the past,” added Shannon. This diverse focus sets the foundation for creative liberties we’ve not seen the likes of locally. Lady Shakes are shaking up the way local theatre will be brought to different audiences. Step outside your comfort zone and on May 29 at 3pm enjoy Lady Shakes’ all-female production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” in NOTO (only the funny parts).

By Kerrice Mapes

Kerrice Mapes

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