News Column

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va., Rob Hedelt column

April 29, 2014

By Rob Hedelt, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

April 29--IT'S TIME TODAY for updates of favorite column topics, ranging from local theatrical news to a festival in Kinsale, and more.

I'll start with "She Stoops to Conquer," a play offered three times this weekend by the Rude Mechanicals, the theatrical troupe at George Washington's Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm.

The play will be presented outdoors in the gardens at Ferry Farm on Friday and Saturday night at 7, then Sunday evening at 6.

I recently caught up with Fred Franklin, former Stafford County drama teacher and now artistic director of the Rude Mechanicals, to find out about the play and other upcoming drama-related events.

Franklin said the longtime theatrical group is excited to be doing the outdoor performance of "She Stoops to Conquer," a play by Irish author Oliver Goldsmith first performed in London

in 1773.

It's the story of a young lady who pretends to be a servant in order to win the notice of a young man who is painfully shy around women of his own class. Misadventures and mayhem ensue before matters are neatly wrapped up at the end.

Franklin said the Mechanicals are the epitome of community-based theater, and it's fitting for the group to put on a play outdoors at Ferry Farm, as they did last year at the Olde Silk Mill in Fredericksburg.

"People should bring a lawn chair and they could also bring a picnic," he said. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students for the production at Ferry Farm, which is part of the the Fredericksburg Festival for the Performing Arts.

He said tickets will be available before the performances at a booth by the gardens.

Franklin said the next theater-related event on the horizon is a return of Actorshop Ltd. managing director Derek Brown, who'll be here in early May to do play readings and work with local students.

Brown, who put on student workshops here last year, founded Actorshop Ltd. in London in 1985. He is also the co-director and executive producer for Actorshop Productions.

Franklin said that accompanying Brown will be Michael Buffong, artistic director for the Talawa Theatre Company in London, who is expected to work with local student groups.


Kinsale Museum Director Lynn Norris put out the word recently: Strawberries will be available by the pint and with whipped cream on "Kinsale pound cakes" on Saturday, May 10, a the town's Third Annual Strawberry Festival.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Westmoreland County town, youngsters can take part in face-painting, chalk drawing or have fun with an inflatable fire truck at the fundraiser for the Cople District Volunteer Fire Department.

Adults can participate in a strawberry bake-off competition, listen to live music from Cold Steel Country, purchase items from an array of vendors and artists and take a look at antique tractors and cars.

I know the pound cakes will be homemade because Norris and others have been putting out a call to bakers down there for the tasty treats.


A recent visit to the Reedville Fishermen's Museum pointed up a few special things happening at the museum with the most members and volunteers in the Northern Neck.

The one that caught my eye: a grant that's helping to outfit the museum's flat-bottom deadrise boat--the Foggy Bottom--to demonstrate how Chesapeake Bay watermen harvest crabs and oysters.

When completed, students and other visitors will be able to actually tong oysters and haul up crab pots from the boat's spot at the museum's dock.

Other new work there is happening in the museum's "Festival Halle," a former school building near the museum in Reedville that's used and rented out for lectures, weddings, reunions and dances.

Museum Director Shawn Hall led me on a quick tour of that facility, donated to the museum a few years back.

Volunteers have installed new curtains, flooring and plumbing in an effort to spruce it up and entice more renters.

Donations are being sought now for a second phase that calls for improving the kitchen, electrical system and the installation of windows to take the facility back to its original school look.

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415


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Source: Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

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