“What’s in a name?” the Bard of Avon once asked. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Perhaps. But it wouldn’t be as well described, and so after twenty-one years as The Washington Shakespeare Company, the Rosslyn-based troupe has renamed itself “WSC Avant Bard”.
“We’re an avant garde ensemble, yet our name seemed institutional, reminiscent of a more conservative or establishment company,” WSC Avant Bard Artistic Director Christopher Henley explained. “Our new name is the best representation of who we are now and how we have matured as a groundbreaking troupe.”
During its lengthy tenure on the DC theatre scene, WSC became well known for its startling takes on traditional fare. Its all-nude MacBeth won the company national attention, but it produced several other artistically innovative pieces as well. Last year, WSC moved from its much-loved, crumbling Clark Street Crystal City digs to a sleek new black box in Artisphere in Roslyn, VA. . The name changed seemed appropriate, WSC’s leadership concluded.
“It’s a turning point for us, a time to move the name and the company forward,” said Executive Director Warren Arbogast. “For two decades, we produced great shows but there was also a lot of confusion about our name. This is an opportunity for us to reach out to new people, in our new theater.”
WSC Avant Bard will begin its new season – its 22nd, and first under its new name – with a production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. Previews begin on August 25, 2011 at 7:30pm.