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P.O. Box 84935
Lincoln, NE 68501-4935
402-473-2897

OUR HISTORY

Since 2001 Bob Hall, Stephen Buhler, and their associates have been presenting Shakespearean plays in Lincoln, Nebraska. Their first stagings were performed at Wyuka Cemetery's unique open-air venue, The Swan, and at the Haymarket Theatre in Lincoln, under the leadership of its Executive Director Fred Stuart. The plays - including Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night's Dream utilized many of the same cast and crew members. In the summer of 2004, the Haymarket produced The Tempest at The Swan.

about the swan
The Swan Theatre
Flatwater Shakespeare takes much of its inspiration from a unique performance space, the Swan at Wyuka Cemetery and Park.

The Swan Theatre

Wishing to restore a park section of their grounds to its 1900s use as a place of public recreation, the board of Wyuka Cemetery and Park asked Bob Hall to help initiate open-air performances in the courtyard of their nineteenth-century carriage house.

After serious cleaning and clearing, along with essential repairs, Bob directed Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in the summer of 2001, establishing a long and productive partnership that has lasted a decade.

The space formed by the former carriage house and its attaching structures takes audiences and actors back to the Elizabethan inn-yards in which Shakespeare’s plays were often staged in his own lifetime.

Using the carriage house as a theater helped Wyuka to receive a federal historical preservation grant and local matching funds. When the restoration is complete, the Swan will have updated wiring, heating, cooling, and plumbing.

Wyuka Cemetery and Park is recognized by the National Registrar of Historic Places and is a Nebraska State Arboretum Historic Landscape.

The Swan logo

In 2004, The Flatwater Shakespeare Company was established as a not-for-profit charitable organization. Its name pays homage to the original storytellers who once occupied the area we live in -- "Flatwater" being a translation of the Native American word, "Nebraska."

In 2005, Lincoln's Lied Center for the Performing Arts produced Flatwater Company's inaugural dramatic venture, Measure for Measure. Under the leadership of its Executive Director, Charles Bethea, the Lied also supported a youth program that helped student actors engage more deeply with Shakespeare's language and stagecraft. Both the main production and student scenes were staged at the Lied's state-of-the-art black box, the Johnny Carson Theatre. The Haymarket Theatre similarly participated in a youth program in the summer of 2005, in conjunction with the Flatwater production of Henry V.

The establishment of Flatwater Shakespeare as an independent legal entity allows us to maintain strong collaborative ties with past partners. It also allows us to continue expanding our efforts into a full time operation, capable of more productions, in more places throughout the region, with an even greater focus on education.