"All the world's a stage" as the saying goes, and that's especially true this week of Upper Saucon Twp., Lehigh Co.
Shakespeare experts from around the world are in town for a one-of-a-kind conference. It's a meeting of the minds, where everyone has the Bard on the brain. More than 120 people from 47 Shakespeare companies from 30 states and 8 countries have descended on DeSales University.
"So from as far away as Argentina, London, Czechoslovakia, Utah, San Francisco, all over the country," explained Lisa Higgins with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
It's the Shakespeare Theatre Association's 22nd annual meeting. It began Wednesday and runs through Saturday.
"It's an opportunity for us to gather Shakespeare Festival's artistic leaders, education leaders, managing directors from all around the world to talk about common issues that face us as play makers," shared Patrick Spottiswoode, president, Shakespeare Theatre Association.
Everyone at the conference shares a passion about trying to engage more people with Shakespeare's plays. Folks can take part in roundtable discussions and breakout sessions on an array of Shakespeare centered topics. It's the one time a year everyone gets to meet face to face.
"It's a very comprehensive conversation," said freelance Shakespeare director Caroline Nesbitt. "It's inspiring because you get to see how people are operating at unbelievable circumstances."
"It's been very illuminating to come here and listen to some of the same issues I'm having, other theater companies are having," added John Bellomo, from the Maryland Shakespeare Festival. "I'm looking forward to bringing that information back to my organization."
Participants said they go home with information and a broader perspective. For the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, landing the meeting was a huge deal. Spottiswoode, who works at the Globe Theater in London, said people really need to get out and experience Shakespeare to get over their Shakes-fear.
"Shakespeare gives us this mixture of tragedy and comedy in every one of his plays really, and that's why I think he survived," Spottiswoode said.