Production group brings Shakespeare to Eastern Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Shakespeare is reaching parts of eastern Kentucky thanks to the Appalachian Shakespeare Center.

'Much Ado About Nothing'

Matt Johnson says, "Shakespeare has traditionally been very popular. He’s the most produced playwright in the world and by far the most playwright in America."

This summer's production is ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’ "It's very fast and witty, a romantic comedy, and then a little bit of comedy for good measure," Johnson explains.

This production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' is set in the World War II time period. That twist shows what the Appalachian Shakespeare Center wants to teach: Creativity. They say it's a lesson that can be used on and off the stage.

"Anytime you do you theater you work together to create a story or tell a story to share with the audience. You choose to pretend and you choose to believe in that pretend thing and make it real. Which is basically what we're doing in society every day," Johnson explains.

Not only do they perform, the group also travels to schools in eastern Kentucky to teach kids about Shakespeare. They then let them create whatever projects they want.

Sarah Jo Jacobs says, “There's a lot of choice in there. Some students have done performances, some have done visual arts. It’s amazing how they just take it and run with it when we really explain what those words mean and we give them the context."

Now that they're in their second year, the Appalachian Shakespeare Center says it wants to reach even more people.

"Right now we're still growing and we've very small but we have big plans," Johnson says.

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ will be in Richmond at EKU through the end of July. Performances are free.