The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre raised more than $40,000 Saturday night during its annual
Bard Ball, an event that included auctions, musical performances and a candlelit dinner on stage
at Reynolds Performance Hall.
The proceeds from Bard Ball go directly to funding the AST as it approaches its upcoming
twelfth season. The season begins June 8, with an outdoor performance of “The Winter’s Tale,”
on the UCA campus.
Bard Ball began with a silent auction, during which attendees could bid on concert tickets,
jewelry, tickets to AST plays, books, paintings by local artists, a vacation on the beach and
various other items donated for the event.
Philanthropist and resident of Hot Springs Dorothy Morris made a donation of
$10,000 during the charitable contributions event, garnering a standing ovation from everyone in
Actress, dancer and singer Michelle Alves, who has performed on broadway as well as with the
AST, performed several songs, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of
Oz,” and “America,” from “West Side Story.” Alves will also be performing at the upcoming
AST is the only Professional Shakespeare company in Arkansas, and has been providing
Arkansans with access to performances of the Bard’s work for more than a decade.
The company has more than tripled its number of company members and doubled its audience
size since it began.
The theme of the ball was “transformation,” and AST Producing Artistic Director Rebekah
Scallet emphasized the transformative power of Shakespeare during a speech.
“I truly believe that theater, especially Shakespeare, is something that transforms,” Scallet said.
“When you come to the the theater, you will be changed afterwards. Hopefully your heart will be
opened, your horizons will be expanded, and you will lose yourself in the magic of theater.”
UCA First Lady Jenny Davis spoke of how essential theater is in bringing communities together.
“Theater is a communal experience, and in this world we need a time that we come together. And
when we laugh, and we watch, and we experience a world that is really just manufactured out of
costumes and words, Davis said. “When we leave, we’ve done something together, and that’s worth
supporting, and that’s worth keeping, and that why we’re really glad that you’re here tonight and
we’re very honored to support this cause and the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.”