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The 10th annual River To River® Festival, with the support of Founding and Title Sponsor American Express, Statue Cruises, LLC and other generous sponsors, will kick off its first-ever partnership with New York Classical Theatre with a sprawling, open-air production of “Henry V” that will include a trip across New York Harbor as part of the play.

From July 6-24, the acclaimed theatre company will apply its signature staging style, Panoramic Theatre, to a semi-maritime production of Shakespeare’s popular history play. Audience members will journey with King Henry and his army from fifteenth-century England (Battery Park) across the English Channel (New York Harbor) by boat to France (Governors Island). There, the famous Battle of Agincourt will be staged in front of historic Fort Jay.

Directed by New York Classical Theatre founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman, the ambitious production will feature a cast of 40, the largest in the company’s history. Henry will be played by Justin Blanchard, who played the title role in the company’s production of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark at the World Financial Center last season and was part of the ensemble cast of the 2007 Tony Award-winning revival of Journey’s End. The production will be designed by Amelia Dombrowski and fight direction will be by Shad Ramsey who also worked on Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

The 12-year old New York Classical Theatre has won acclaim for its roving productions of classical plays in Central Park, Battery Park and the World Financial Center, where its staging of Aphra Behn’s The Rover earlier this spring drew more than 2,500 viewers and won reviews in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Back Stage.
“New York Classical Theatre perfectly embodies The River To River® Festival’s commitment to bringing free, high-quality art to audiences of all stripes,” Sam Miller, President of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), the new lead partner of the River To River® Festival.

“We’re honored to be embarking on a partnership with the River To River® Festival in its tenth anniversary season, and it’s a testament to the Festival’s sense of fun and adventure that we’ve been given free rein right off the bat to stage our most ambitious production ever,” said Burdman. “It’s not often that theatre artists and audiences get to enjoy a set that encompasses two islands and a waterway, and we intend to mark this auspicious new relationship with a Henry V for the ages.”

The production joins a Shakespearean invasion that includes Derek Jacobi’s “King Lear,” currently at BAM; the Royal Shakespeare Company’s five-play repertory binge at the Park Avenue Armory in July; and the Public Theater’s annual Shakespeare in the Park, which this year will bring “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Measure for Measure” to Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.

Special wristbands, available 5:00-6:30pm in front of Castle Clinton on the day of each performance, will be required for free transportation to Governors Island. Each person is eligible to pick up 2 wristbands. Ferry travel has been generously donated by Statue Cruises, LLC (http://www.statuecruises.com), the authorized concessioner of reservation, ticketing, and ferry services to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum.