Adult Education

Hippodrome Theatre’s Play Observership: 1984

It takes months of planning and dozens of theatre professionals to produce a play on the Hippodrome mainstage. The Hippodrome Play Observership offers the opportunity for the public to go behind-the-scenes at a professional regional theatre. Alongside the director, designers, actors and staff, participants are immersed in the theatrical creative process and experience as the production team takes a play from page to stage.

In this engaging Play Observership, you will be led through the creative process of a unique and timely theatrical experience of George Orwell’s 1984. Come explore with us as we unlock the depths of how this beloved novel resonates with us today.

Participants in the Observership will witness designer presentations, the cast table read of the script, additional rehearsals, a backstage Hippodrome tour, and the chance to experience a press run of the show. The Observership culminates with a preview performance and post-show discussion with the cast and creative team. Cost for 5 classes is only $100 and includes 1 ticket to the preview performance.

Friday, August 4 (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.) – Crash course on the classic novel and behind-the-scenes at the Hipp
Friday, August 11 (12:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.) – Meet the cast and Director, attend the first read-through, see design presentations
Friday, August 18 (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.) – Get a behind-the-scenes look as the set and costumes come together in a rehearsal with the actors
Thursday, August 24 (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.) – Full run through of the play on the mainstage
Wednesday, August 30 (7 p.m. – 10 p.m.) – Preview performance and discussion

To sign up: Call the Hippodrome Box Office at (352)375-4477 or go online to  Register by July 21 and save $10 with our Early Bird Special.

David Patrick Ford’s The Shakespeare Code acting class

Six courses | $149

Classes start Sept. 11, 2017,  6:15 p.m. ‑  7:30 p.m.

A seventh class on Oct. 24 is an optional end of term celebration.

The Shakespeare Code with David Patrick Ford at the Hippodrome Theatre is a course that allows the public to delve into the genius mind behind Shakespeare’s classic words.

The goal of the class is to enlighten students to the brilliance of Shakespeare’s writing and reveal how his texts are master classes in acting technique.  Aspiring actors will learn new techniques in text analysis and will gain confidence in their acting through the knowledge that they are accurately interpreting and portraying their characters.  Fans of Shakespeare’s writing will come to see the plays through the eyes of the actor — the artist for which the plays were written — and their appreciation of the writing will deepen.

Students will break down some of Shakespeare’s most famous text by analyzing one line at a time, looking for clues, such as deviations in the meter and use of imagery, identifying themes that run throughout the plays, finding the instructions for movement and stage pictures written into the text and more.

This course is intended for actors who wish to understand how to perform Shakespeare at a higher level, for students who want a better understanding of the reason why Shakespeare’s plays are so enduring, and for lovers of Shakespeare’s texts who want to see them from an actor’s perspective.  An acting background is not necessary.

About Hipp company member David Patrick Ford: This talented actor studied classical theater at the Conservatory of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. His professional Shakespeare performance experience includes the roles Macbeth in Macbeth, Iago in Othello, and Antonio in The Merchant of Venice.


More Programs


Following the second Sunday matinee performance of Mainstage shows, playgoers can enjoy a post-show talkback with the Hippodrome’s artistic team. These talkbacks give audience members a chance to ask actors, designers, directors and playwrights about the creative process and the unique opportunities and challenges presented by each Mainstage production. Season subscriptions that coincide with the Mainstage talkbacks are available.