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Catawba College sponsors free community reading of King Lear

Catawba College News Service

SALISBURY — Responding to enthusiastic requests from last year’s participants, Catawba College will again offer a community reading and study of a Shakespeare play at its downtown venue at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in February and March. This year’s play will be “King Lear. “

Reading dates will be Feb. 21 and 28, and March 7, 14 and 21. The group will read one act each week at Downtown Catawba, located at Plaza Building, Suite 103, 100 W. Innes St.

Dr. Bethany Sinnott, Catawba’s retired Shakespeare professor, will again conduct the weekly sessions, which consist of the participants sitting in a circle and reading aloud each scene before discussing it briefly. Everyone is encouraged but not required to read aloud.

Sinnott will provide a brief introduction to the play on Feb. 21. Participants may attend one or all of the sessions as their schedules permit. Last year’s group, reading “Hamlet,” consisted of a broad range of ages, from high school students to retirees.

“King Lear” is a play about a man who has achieved age but not wisdom. When he decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, he sets in motion a process that will end tragically but not before he has achieved a hard-won knowledge of love and power. The play is much praised for the beauty and effectiveness of its language.

Catawba College provides this program free of charge to the community. Copies of the Folger Shakespeare Library paperback edition of “King Lear” will be available for the use of the participants.

“I just think it’s wonderful that Catawba makes this Shakespeare study available to Salisbury,” said one of last year’s participants when learning of plans for this year’s program. This year, Dr. Aaron Butler, who currently teaches the Shakespeare classes at Catawba, will also participate in the sessions.

Sinnott, English professor emerita at Catawba, holds a B.A. from Duke University, M.A. from Northwestern University 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 “King Lear” reading, Sinnott may be reached at bethanysinnott@hotmail.com or 704-637-0136.

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