By Emma Castleberry
Montford Park Players (MPP) has announced the lineup for their 2019 theater season. The first of these free productions at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre will be Shakespeare in Love, followed by Henry IV, Part I; Robin Hood: Quest for Justice; Romeo and Juliet; A Winter’s Tale; and 16 Years Tried. MPP will also host a special holiday performance of A Christmas Carol in December.
In the midst of planning their 2019 season, MPP also hired a new director of donor relations to spearhead their capital campaign. Beth Coakley will assist the organization in raising $2.3 million to complete the renovation of the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre and hire as many as 15 full-time staff members for theatre production and administration. Coakley, who has a long career history as a nonprofit fundraiser, was inspired to apply for the position after seeing last year’s MPP performance of Robin Hood. “As a fundraiser you have to believe in the mission of the organization you are advocating for,” she says. “Montford Park Players struck me as a beloved Asheville tradition with an established history and a mission worthy of supporting.”
For more than 46 years, MPP has been sharing free Shakespeare with Asheville and it is committed to continuing that mission. “However, it takes money to run a quality enterprise,” says Coakley. “The Board has a vision for MPP’s future with enhancements to the stage, sound system, lighting, seating, parking options and permanent staff, crowned by an accessible walkway leading to a welcome center. We are in the beginning stages of a capital campaign and hope others will support an Asheville institution that makes our city such a great place to live.”