FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: West Virginia’s only Shakespeare Troupe Announces Debut of Newly Formed Apprentice Troupe

Vintage Theatre Company’s Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young cordially invites audiences to the debut of The Rustic Mechanicals’ Apprentice Troupe and their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A rich man’s daughter has a difficult choice to make: do her duty and accept an arranged marriage or follow her heart to her one true love. But then, the fun takes flight when the humorous Kingdom of Fairies begins to toy with this funny romantic entanglement. Magic and mischief are spun into the lives of everyone involved in Shakespeare’s most romantic comedy.

The Rustic Mechanicals, founded by Celi Oliveto, is the state’s only professional Shakespeare troupe. The touring group of Mechanicals founded the new Apprentice Troupe through the VTC Academy in September of 2017.

“For years we have been taking the Mechanicals into schools and allowing students to watch us perform the works of William Shakespeare live onstage,” said Young. “It became pretty obvious that it was time for us to start putting students up onstage performing this same amazing work as well.”

Audiences will have their first opportunity to see the Apprentice Troupe on Thursday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m., the opening night of their debut production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Subsequent performances will take place Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17 at 2:00p.m.

All performances will take place at The VTC Cabaret inside the Uptown Event Center at 305 Washington Ave. in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia. All tickets are $10, and reservations are required. Tickets can be acquired by emailing

The Rustic Mechanicals Apprentice Troupe is made up of 13 students from North Central West Virginia who have been meeting for workshops and rehearsals over the last nine months with Mechanicals’ Troupe Founder Celi Oliveto and VTC Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young.

Audiences will see Xavier Evans and Mackenzie Haymond, both from South Harrison High School as the kings Theseus and Oberon and the queens Hippolyta and Titania; as well as the Anthenian lovers Demetrius, Lysander, Helena, and Hermia played by Derek Hess from Bridgeport High School, Ben Long from Notre Dame High School, Elizabeth O’Neil from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and Erica Cottrill from Bridgeport High School respectively. Jordan Kennedy-Rea from Bridgeport High School takes on the iconic role of Puck, while Callia Byard, also from Bridgeport High School, will play Nick Bottom the Weaver. Riley Barringer from South Harrison High School will be playing Egeus and Francis Flute alongside Wesley Cotter from Bridgeport High School playing Peter Quince and Cobweb, McKenzie Fittro and Hannah Gowarty, both from Notre Dame High School, playing Snug and Mustardseed, and Snout and Peaseblossom respectively. Jalyn Marie Smith will be making a special cameo appearance as a young fairy.

Young and Oliveto direct the production with Technical Direction by David Byard and Production Design by Trina Byard.

“It’s an honor to work with such talented, dedicated individuals,” said Oliveto. “This show requires actors to perform with great energy and focus. It is inspirational to watch these students engage with Shakespeare’s language and bring it to life in their own way.”

For more information about The Rustic Mechanicals Apprentice Troupe Production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, email or call 1-855-VTC-8588.

“Performing Shakespeare is a 400-year-old-tradition,” said Young. “I hope these apprentice troupe members understand the nobility of the work and the heritage that they are a part of and the impact they are currently making on our state.”

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