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Community Reading of Shakespeare's Play: The Winter’s Tale

Mar. 6 (7:00pm)

Rendleman Conference Room

Category: Special Events

sinnott18.jpgResponding to enthusiastic requests from prior years’ participants, Catawba College will again offer a community reading and study of a Shakespeare play on its campus at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in February and early March. This year’s play will be The Winter’s Tale, and Dr. Bethany Sinnott, a Catawba professor emerita of English and a Shakespearean scholar, will again conduct the weekly sessions.

Reading dates will be February 6, 13, 20, and 27, and March 6.  March 13th is scheduled as a reading make-up day in case inclement winter weather occurs during the course of the scheduled dates. The reading group will read one act each week in the Rendleman Conference Room, located on the second floor of the Hedrick Administration Building at 2301 West Innes Street. Each weekly session will consist of participants reading aloud each scene before discussing it briefly. Everyone is encouraged, but not required, to read aloud.

winterstale.gifShakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is a romance, not because it deals with romantic love, though it does involve that theme, but because it is one of a small group of plays, the romances, that Shakespeare wrote late in his career, after the tragedies. These plays share a number of common themes, including exotic settings, human evil and suffering followed by forgiveness and reconciliation, affirmation of life, and supernatural elements. The romances have been especially praised for the beauty of their poetry.

In The Winter’s Tale, Leontes, King of Sicilia, is suddenly consumed with a violent and unjustified jealousy of his wife and childhood best friend, the visiting King of Bohemia. His vicious rage results in suffering for his family, friend and kingdom. Although the madness of his jealousy is suddenly quenched by a tragic event, Leontes and others must suffer the consequences of his deeds until the faithful love and service of other characters lead to what seems a miraculous blessing of restoration and reconciliation. The Winter’s Tale provides audiences and readers with colorful and appealing characters and a touching appreciation of nature and country life at a rustic festival. The play is a celebration of life despite the evil and suffering that form a part of that life.

Dr. Sinnott will provide a brief introduction to the play on February 6.  Participants may attend one or all of the sessions as their schedules permit. Prior years’ reading groups, for Hamlet and King Lear, have included a broad range of ages, from high school students to retirees.

Catawba College provides this program free of charge to the community thanks in large measure to the willingness of Dr. Sinnott, who throughout her career has tried to cultivate new fans of Shakespeare.  Copies of the Folger Shakespeare Library paperback edition of The Winter’s Tale will be available for the use of the participants.

Dr. Sinnott, English professor emerita at Catawba, holds a B.A. from Duke, M. A. from Northwestern, and Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill. Recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award from the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English in 2000, she was the first recipient of the Leona Fleming Herman Endowed Professorship at Catawba. She also served as lecturer for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival.

For questions about this year’s The Winter’s Tale reading, Dr. Sinnott may be reached at or 704-637-0136.

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