Bard broadcast: Cable company shares Shakespeare on small screen

An area tradition will again light up television screens across the state tonight and tomorrow.

The Johnstown-based Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company production of “Twelfth Night” will be shown on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, channel 17 on Atlantic Broadband, at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The company’s production of a Shakespearean work – held annually each summer at Stackhouse Park, a 227-acre nature reserve near Johnstown – began more than 20 years ago, said Bradford Gordon, executive director and producer.

Bradford’s wife, Laura, the artistic director and whom he said is the “creative genius” behind it all, started the nonprofit Shakespearean troupe in 1991.

She received a national endowment grant to study Shakespeare with the Royal Shakespeare Company and decided to share her experience with the community through a “grand experiment of ‘let’s do a play in the middle of nature preserve,'” Bradford said.

About 15 years ago, Atlantic Broadband of Johnstown started to film the popular production, and about six years ago, PCN began airing it around the holidays, Bradford said.

“This past summer, we did ‘Twelfth Night,’ and we did it as a 1967 hippie commune in the middle of the woods, so we kind of gave it a unique setting, a unique feel,” he said. “We always interject some music into the show to keep it jumping.”

Between 1,200 to 1,500 people attend the live performances of a different work from Shakespeare each summer, he said.

The upcoming season will bring a production of the “The Winter’s Tale.”

“We love to work with Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company,” Atlantic Broadband marketing manager Natalie Kurchak said in a press release. “By donating our production resources, we extend the reach of this fabulous local production statewide.”

Amanda Fisher of Johnstown has performed with the troupe since 1992, she said.

The production has “a great group of people, and I think that the spirit that we have as cast and crew – I hope, anyway – overflows to the audience. And people who come to see it the first time say they have to come back again, but it’s nice to have it shown across the state for people who, for whatever reason, can’t be there, but they still get to share with that too,” she said.

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.