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Shakespeare Society is expanding to include more students. | Wikimedia Commons

After playing the leading lady in the Shakespeare Society’s production of “Taming of the Shrew” in the spring, junior Molly Kate Andrews swooped into a leadership position in the club. As president this year, Andrews has big plans to revamp the club by adding new events that appeal to a broader audience.

The Shakespeare Society has gathered Hillsdale’s Shakespeare lovers for more than 20 years. In the past, however, its sole event was a student-directed production of one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. 

Andrews said she hopes to transform the club into a larger and more influential presence on campus. To achieve this, she incorporated different Shakespeare-related events into the calendar. 

She’s kicking off the year by organizing a viewing of The Tower Players production of “All’s Well That Ends Well,” followed by a discussion panel concerning the play’s characters, themes, plot, and acting and directing choices. She also wants to organize Shakespeare appreciation events throughout the year featuring various speakers, as well as events in which society members come together to read Shakespeare’s works aloud. 

“I want to make the club more accessible to students interested in Shakespeare who don’t want to commit to rehearsal four times a week. I also wanted to appeal to students who have not been exposed to Shakespeare much,” Andrews said. “I want to create a low-impact, unpretentious environment where we can talk about Shakespeare without flicking intellectual ashes.” 

Assistant Professor of English Benedict Whalen, who has been the faculty advisor for the Shakespeare Society for three years, said he is thrilled that Andrews is trying to bring Shakespeare’s works to Hillsdale’s student body. 

“Shakespeare is really something relevant for us to study because he will move our imaginations with wonder and inspire in us the desire to know,” Whalen said. 

For its first event of the semester Sept. 28, Whalen spoke to the society about Shakespeare’s historical background and why his work is invaluable even after 400 years. 

Despite expanding the boundaries of the Shakespeare society, Andrews will still focus primarily on the production of the “Merchant of Venice” this spring. As always, the performance will take place in the Slayton Arboretum at the end of April, and auditions will be open to the whole student body. 

Andrews will co-direct “The Merchant of Venice” along with sophomore Mitchell Biggs, vice president of the club. 

“We chose ‘The Merchant of Venice’ because it is a good mix of exciting and philosophical,” Biggs said. “Right now, we are still establishing a shared conception of what the play truly means, and how we can best communicate that meaning.”