"Of Green Gables" marks first joint production of Parallel 45 Theatre and Interlochen Center for the Arts

Parallel 45 Theatre’s Shelby Lewis will lead Interlochen Arts Academy students in a new production that transforms the classic novel "Anne of Green Gables" into an abstract exploration for a contemporary audience.

Parallel 45 Theatre and Interlochen Center for the Arts are embarking on their official partnership with a contemporary twist on L.M. Montgomery's beloved novel, "Anne Of Green Gables". Of Green Gables, an abstract exploration of the classic story, is directed by Parallel 45's Shelby Lewis and will feature Interlochen Arts Academy theatre students at Interlochen's Phoenix Theatre on Thursday, March 12; Friday, March 13; and Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m., with an additional performance March 14 at 2 p.m. Admission is free and tickets are not needed. 

Parallel 45 Theatre and Interlochen Center for the Arts launched their official partnership in September 2019, bringing two artistic powerhouses together to provide cutting-edge theatre to northwest Michigan. Of Green Gables is the result of a six-week annual residency for Parallel 45 directors and theatre-makers to create new material utilizing Interlochen Arts Academy theatre students—a key component of the new partnership.

Directed by Parallel 45's Shelby Lewis, Of Green Gables navigates the true meaning of home, the struggle of self-worth, the difficulty of finding and holding on to your place in the world, and the exhilarating escape of diving into your wide imagination. The production draws from the delightful language of the book, the autobiographical parallels of the author's life, and the ensemble's personal experiences to fuse a vintage classic with a new narrative.

"Interlochen is the perfect environment for the creativity, openness, and courage it takes to devise new work," said Lewis. "This group of teenage students had never read 'Anne Of Green Gables,' nor seen any of the many adaptations. It was a true gift to see the story through their modern-day eyes. It affirmed the timeless connection of Anne's sweet and stubborn positivity to people of all ages."

"By diving into the life of the author, who preferred to be called Maud, some slightly darker themes have surfaced in regards to struggles with mental illness and more. We hope those who love the sunny yet contemplative side of Anne will be pleasantly surprised by the insights found from the author's parallel existence. It was important to the cast to represent the author's experience as an equal voice in Anne's adventures and that drive has shaped our show in an innovative and thoughtful way."

"We are thrilled to kick off our partnership with Parallel 45 Theatre with this thoughtful take on a beloved classic that still speaks to the next generation of actors," said William Church, director of theatre at Interlochen. "Our students have benefited tremendously from working closely with Shelby Lewis and also draw inspiration from the multifaceted trajectory she followed after graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy."

An actress, theatre educator, and director, Lewis graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2005 and earned her undergraduate degree from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She first returned to Interlochen in 2016 to perform the role of Rosalind in As You Like It at the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival and has since starred in Parallel 45's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Alice in Wonderland in French Clown, and A Christmas Carol in Prose. As a voiceover actress, she has recorded numerous titles for Audible.com, Brilliance Audio, and Random House.

The second component of the partnership between Parallel 45 Theatre and Interlochen Center for the Arts gives Interlochen Arts Academy students the opportunity to apprentice with Parallel 45 Theatre during their summer performance season. In addition, the partnership encompasses Interlochen's ongoing collaboration with the MITTEN Lab (A Michigan Incubator for Theatre Talent Emerging Now), an artist residency program founded by Rachel Sussman and Katherine M. Carter. Focusing on the advancement of works in the performing arts, the MITTEN Lab cultivates early career playwrights, musical theatre composers, lyricists, librettists, choreographers, and performance artists, in an effort to strengthen the development of new theatrical work in Michigan. Parallel 45 Theatre serves on the MITTEN Lab selection committee and provides directors for the works-in-progress performance, which has featured Interlochen Arts Academy students for three years in a row. This free presentation will be held again in the fall in Harvey Theatre on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts.

About Parallel 45 Theatre
Parallel 45 Theatre produces cutting-edge interpretations of classic plays, giving familiar stories new life–and fresh relevance–for our northwest Michigan audience. By producing a summer theatre festival of reinvented classics, new works and imaginative adaptations, we seek to entertain, encourage critical thought, and inspire conversation in our community.

Since 2010, Parallel 45 Theatre has brought more than 150 artists—from as far away as Berlin and as close as Traverse City—to create groundbreaking shows for our community. For nine seasons, we have offered the kind of adventurous professional work you might see in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles—right here in northwest Michigan. In 2017, Parallel 45 Theatre's production of Alice in Wonderland was nominated for a Wilde Award, which honors the best productions, performances and technical work produced or presented by professional theaters across the state. To learn more, visit parallel45.org.

About Interlochen Center for the Arts
A global destination for artists and arts enthusiasts, Interlochen Center for the Arts comprises Interlochen Arts Camp, a world-class multidisciplinary summer arts program; Interlochen Arts Academy, the nation's premier fine arts boarding high school; Interlochen Presents, a producer of more than 600 annual performances by celebrated guest artists, Interlochen students, and faculty; Interlochen Public Radio, two listener-supported, 24-hour public radio stations (classical music and news); and Interlochen College of Creative Arts, a convener for lifelong arts education. Since 1928, Interlochen has served a mission to ignite and propel a lifelong passion for the arts. For more information, visit interlochen.org.

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