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Resounds: Gretchen Minton

Gretchen Minton at the YPR studios
Ken Siebert
Gretchen Minton at the YPR studios

Montana State University English professor Gretchen Minton spent years traveling to every corner of Montana to trace the Big Sky Country’s two-century love affair with William Shakespeare. The result was her book, Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country’s Love Affair with the World’s Most Famous Writer, which was recognized with the 2020 Montana Book of the Year and the 2020 High Plains Book Award.

Gretchen Minton frequently works with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, adapting plays for the popular summer touring theater program. Her passion is finding ways to enable classical texts to speak about our current environmental crises.

Minton has spent more than two decades teaching and researching Shakespeare. She is also the co-founder of Montana InSite Theatre (MIST).

MIST gives insights and is on-site by using live theatre and film to create relevant performances inspired by classical texts. Their mission is to use theatre to explore current issues, including environmental degradation, climate change, politics, race, gender, and religion. They aim to stage productions in site-specific locations that in and of themselves provide context and meaning to the text and images.

Recent productions include eight scenes from a show titled A Wider Prairie as part of this year’s Tinworks Art installation, The Invisible Prairie, in North Bozeman. For the production, MIST brought another tour of actors, musicians, and storytellers performing monologues, songs, and scenes from some well-known sources and some written specifically for this production.

This summer MIST observed the 400th anniversary of the publishing of Shakespeare’s First Folio with performances at Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail. In that production, the company took some leaves out of Shakespeare’s Folio, presenting plays that came down to us because of this remarkable publication from four centuries ago. The featured scenes, monologues, songs, and art of Leaf-Taking brought Shakespeare’s words into dialogue with the remarkable landscape and artwork of Tippet Rise.

In 2023, Minton spent four months in Townsville, Australia, as a Fulbright Scholar. She is working on an ecologically inflected adaptation of Twelfth Night that is set in North Queensland. She is currently working on a production for December 2023 in Australia.

Corby Skinner is an independent marketing professional with an enormous capacity for assessing issues and creating positive, effective messages.