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Shakespeare, Sci-fi, and Audience Participation Come Together for Santa Barbara Reads

The Santa Barbara Reads 2017 selection, Station Eleven, follows a small troupe of actors and musicians through the Great Lakes region of the former United States after a world decimating pandemic. The book explores the meaning of art, what it means to survive and live, and the nuances and consequences of interconnected lives. Interestingly, not only is this group partial to performing Shakespeare's King Lear, but they also live by the mantra "survival is insufficient," lifted from a Start Trek: Voyager episode.

As part of this year's Santa Barbara Reads programming the Santa Barbara Public Library is lifting both the sci-fi and Shakespearean themes to the fore through a number of live readings.

The SB Reads Kick-Off at the Central Library on Wednesday, November 1 at 6:00 PM will host the first reading. Sci-fi and Shakespeare fans of all ages will be happy to attend and volunteer for the audience participation reading of Verily, A New Hope, a script based on the original Star Wars film A New Hope, but done in the style of Shakespeare.

Following the Kick-Off fans who just can't get enough of the mash-up can join the Montecito Library on Thursday, November 9 at 4:00 PM for a reading of the next episode, The Empire Striketh Back. This play-reading group is open to adult, teens, and children ages 9 and up.

In addition to these mixed events, for those more interested in probing into the Bard's pure work, both the Solvang and Central Libraries will be hosting readings of Shakespeare's original plays.

Solvang Library's regular play-reading group will be using Shakespeare's works for all of their November dates. Fridays, November 3 and 10 at 4:00 PM will engage with Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories, while Friday, November 17 at 4:00 PM the reading will be of King Lear. This play-reading group is also open to all those ages 9 and up.

King Lear holds court again at the Central Library on Monday, November 6 and Monday, November 20, both at 5:00 PM. Led by Jinny Webber, Professor Emerita of English at Santa Barbara City College, the group will read excerpts and discuss Acts I, II, and III in the first session and Acts IV and V in the second session. Individuals are encouraged to attend regardless of whether they can make both sessions or not.

The Santa Barbara Public Library believes that the community will find many parallels between Station Eleven and these other great works of fiction, pieces that are the epitome of art and inspiration (and some fun!).

Santa Barbara Reads is supported by a grant from NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Information about the Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events, and programs is available at All Library programs are free and open to the public.

Contact: Jen Lemberger, Marketing & Programming Librarian

Phone: 805-564-5621



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