Hope College Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” directed by faculty member Daina Robins, on Friday and Saturday, April 15-16; Wednesday-Friday, April 20-22, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, April 23, at 2 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

“The Tempest” unfolds a tale of vengeance and redemption.  Hope College Theatre has made some changes, however, by changing the genders of some of the classic characters.  Hope’s adaptation features a female version of the leading role of Prospero, along with a few other characters.  Prospera will be portrayed by guest artist Julia Stemper of Chicago, Illinois, who is the founder and artistic director of Stone Soup Shakespeare and was recently named company member with the Plagiarists.

“The Tempest” tells the story of Prospera, who has been exiled on an island for 12 years and longs to return to Milan to reclaim her title. With magical powers of her own and the help of her island servants, Propera seeks revenge on those who have wronged her.  She orchestrates a storm but eventually she, as well as the shipwrecked king and his entourage of schemers and fools, learn the true magical powers of forgiveness.  “The Tempest” is said to be Shakespeare’s last play, and one of his most enjoyable.

“In many respects ‘The Tempest’ is a play about the price of guilt and revenge -- and the gift of love and forgiveness,” said Robins, who is a professor of theatre and department chair.  “We are fortunate to have Patrons for the Arts support for this production, enabling us to cast a guest artist in the role of Prospera. Our guest Julia Stemper is bringing wonderful energy, commitment, and experience with Shakespeare to the rehearsal process. I have re-gendered this role as well as a few others to balance out acting opportunities for both men and women in our department.  We are discovering some surprising and exciting new dynamics, relationships, and insights through this re-visioning of some of the play’s characters—but I also think we are still telling the essence of Shakespeare’s story.”

Check out more information on guest artist Julia Stemper  In addition to Robins, the production team for “The Tempest” includes guest artist David Barber as scenic designer and guest instructor Deb Keller as aeriel silks instructor; faculty members Michelle Bombe as co-costume designer and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer; and staff members Paul Anderson, Darlene Veenstra and Reagan Chesnut as technical director, costume shop manager and stage management supervisor respectively.  Students working on the project include sophomore Nathan Gingrich of Potsdam, New York, as stage manager; senior Mollie Murk of Huntley, Illinois, as co-costume designer; and senior Sarah Merrill of Zeeland as assistant to scenic designer David Barber.

In addition to Stemper, the cast includes freshman Katrina Dykstra of Walker; senior Mollie Murk of Huntley, Illinois; senior Kenny Cole of Jenison; junior Sean Zorn of Clinton Township; freshman Luiz Felippe Santos-Souto of Kalamazoo; senior Emilie Bickel of Denver, Colorado; junior Jake Mate of Jenison; junior Laura Schmidt of Yorktown, Indiana; junior Sydney Luse of Elburn, Illinois; senior Theo Zucker of Lake Orion; sophomore Rachel Kennedy of Naperville, Illinois; sophomore Deana Velandra of Clinton; senior Ezra Sprik of Grand Rapids; freshman Megan Clark of Clymer, New York; freshman Rachel Dion of Clinton Township; sophomore Akia Smith of Grand Rapids; and freshman Brynne Fritjofson of Granby, Connecticut.

Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff, and free for Hope College students and children 18 and under. Tickets are available at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Tickets are also available online at hope.edu/tickets.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.