Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at North Star House on July 5

During a one night performance, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) and Quest Theaterworks will bring the return of outdoor summer theater back to Nevada County audiences with the production of Twelfth Night.

“Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. This is his craziest cast of characters,” said Artistic Director Scott Ewing.

Quest Theaterworks will present a fun, revised version of Twelfth Night – “a big broad comedy with some poignancy” – to the North Star House in Grass Valley at 5 p.m. Saturday July 5. Families are invited to bring a picnic supper on the lawn to watch the play considered accessible for modern audiences. Beer, wine and desserts will be available for purchase.

Last year, Quest Theaterworks popular “Faery Hunt” was performed at Bear Yuba Land Trust’s property known as Burton Homestead on Lake Vera-Purdon Road. Every performance was sold out. This year, Quest Theaterworks wanted to give back to the Land Trust with a bigger benefit play for the community.

“We wanted to partner with Bear Yuba Land Trust to help them out. The North Star House seemed like a beautiful place to bring outdoor theater back to Nevada County,” said Ewing.

With community support, BYLT conserves beautiful local open spaces forever, builds miles of trails and provides dozens of outings and experiences for young and old to connect with nature.

Outdoor theater has a more festival feel, says Ewing. Think Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival or Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In recent years, the historic North Star House designed by the famed architect Julia Morgan and run by the North Star Conservancy has become a community venue for concerts and other events.

“What’s fun about outdoor theater, is it’s less formal… Frankly I think people would prefer to be outside during the summer,” said Ewing.

For an additional $20, theater lovers will have the opportunity to pre-purchase tickets for a VIP Cast Reception following the show. It’s an opportunity to mingle with the actors and director in a private room of the historic North Star House. Hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be included.  

This is the first Shakespeare production for the touring theater group. Preeminent actress of the region, Director Trish Adair has directed Shakespeare in the past. Artistic Director Scott Ewing was a partner and business manager of “Reduced Shakespeare Company,” which performed condensed versions of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays each night. The company toured all over the world.

“Thinkers Theater”

The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. The play focuses on the Countess Olivia falling in love with Viola (who is disguised as a boy), and Sebastian in turn falling in love with Olivia.

“It’s Downton Abbey, Shakespeare Style… “This play is a lot of fun and ultimately about bullying and how we treat each other,” Ewing said. Quest Theaterworks slogan is, “theater that entertains, engages and enlightens.” Plays are designed to give audiences a good experience and something to think about.

“We call it, ‘Thinkers Theater,’” Ewing said.

In 2014, Quest Theaterworks will present five productions, including an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, the largest arts festival in the world in August.

At BYLT’s Burton Homestead this summer is the production of the Fairy Quest and the Secret Garden in June and July.

Bear Yuba Land Trust Community Program Manager Melony Vance first became enthralled by the quality of Quest Theaterworks with their production of Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” at the Elks Lodge in Grass Valley.

“Quest Theaterworks is known for producing quality shows using unusual and interesting venues. Not a traditional theatrical setting, we all sat around the edges of the room while the play took place in the center. The actors were so believable, we all had tears in our eyes by the end of the show,” said Vance.

Scott Ewing runs the theater company with his wife, Lois who is Managing Director. The couple met at Pepperdine University. Five years ago, the couple started Ewing Ventures and last year launched Quest Theaterworks, a non-profit theater company.

“We’ve been doing theater together a long time,” he said.

Tickets cost $40 in advance and supports Bear Yuba Land Trust and Quest Theaterworks.

This is a bring-your-own-chair event. On the lawn, ticketholders will find a section in front for blankets, a middle section for low chairs and a section in the rear for high chairs.  Shade canopies will be allowed in the rear section only. Picnics are encouraged and beer, wine and desserts will be available for purchase. No outside alcohol please.

For every five tickets purchased, get one free.
To buy tickets, visit:

For more information about Bear Yuba Land Trust visit:

–Laura Brown, Bear Yuba Land Trust

(Painting credit: Mim Meakin)

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