BSC Connected to the Community through Capitol Shakespeare

Theater has a long history at BSC. Students find their voice, future lawyers leverage their accent skills (Wayne Stenehjem) and alumni create connections between the college and the community (Dawn Kopp).

Since Dawn Kopp (’99) and friends established Capitol Shakespeare in 2008, BSC and the BSC Foundation have been some of the strongest supporters of the organization.

Longtime BSC theater professor Dan Rogers (now retired) remembers a meeting early in the tenure of President Skogen asking for BSC’s support. “He immediately said yes. BSC was able to provideshakespeare a home, place to rehearse, and resources in terms of staging, rehearsal space and tools.”

Additionally, the BSC Foundation has provided annual grants to Capitol Shakespeare, helping to maintain and grow the organization’s offerings.

Beyond the annual production, the Capitol Shakespeare Children’s Renaissance Fair exposes the community Shakespearean culture and heritage, and the traveling troupe of young players gives students a chance to explore Shakespeare.

Rogers’ successor at BSC, associate professor of theater Danny Devlin, directed last summer’s production of “As You Like It” and has been involved with Capitol Shakespeare since relocating to Bismarck.

“What they do is so important. Capitol Shakespeare blazed a trail in North Dakota by offering classical theater for free. You don’t see nearly enough of that,” Devlin says.

In addition to Devlin and Rogers, who has acted in every production, BSC alumna Erin Drevlow is the creative director. Associate professor of technical theater Dean Bellin and retired BSC writer Vicki Voskuil serve on the board, and many current and former students have been involved.

“The word play and the wit, the physical gags, it’s a really fun style to both play and watch. People come in reticent and leave with an appreciation [of Shakespeare]. We actively involve and expose a large group of people to the greatest writer, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun,” Rogers says.

To learn more about Capitol Shakespeare visit capitolshakespeare.org.