Prenzie Players is an ever-expanding community theater troupe whose overarching goal is to entertain, educate, and engage the common and not-so-common theater-goer in the Quad Cities.
We are known for exceptional, critically acclaimed performances, produced with a modest budget, intimate settings, and small casts. Since 2003, Prenzie has produced forty shows, including twenty-nine Shakespeare plays.
Remembering Our Past
When Prenzie Players mounted our first show, a two-evening run of Measure for Measure, neither Shakespeare nor classic theater were regularly performed indoors anywhere in the Quad Cities. The first players worried that most of the 40 folding chairs in the art studio performance space would stay empty. To their surprise, 38 of the 40 chairs were filled opening night. The following night, more than 80 people attended. With no seats for over half of the audience, the players helped people find standing room among sculptures and against paintings. We figured much of the standing audience would leave at intermission, but not a single audience member left. When the show closed, Prenzie’s players realized our brand of economically produced classic theater, which prioritized strict attention to verse and ruthlessly specific emotional nuance, was a welcome addition to the Quad Cities’ theatrical landscape.
Creating opportunities to experience masterpieces of our shared literary and cultural heritage, Prenzie has produced—for the first time in the Quad Cities—Euripides’ Cyclops, Calderón’s Life’s a Dream, Aphra Behn’s The Rover, Thomas Middleton’s Revenger’s Tragedy, and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Pericles, Titus Andronicus, and Timon of Athens. In 2013, Prenzie premiered JC Luxton’s Bear Girl. Additionally, Prenzie Players has performed works by Moliere, Edmond Rostand, Jean Anouilh, Christopher Marlowe, and Berthold Brecht.
Performing in all four of the Quad Cities and working with nearly 200 of the region’s exceptional theater artists, Prenzie Players has spent the last 15 years bringing classic theatre wild, alive, and breathing to our audiences, and we remain committed to our mission and community.
Where does Prenzie perform
Since its inception, Prenzie has preferred using ‘found spaces’ for productions, converting unlikely locations into theaters: art galleries, empty storefronts, lecture halls, banquet rooms, a former Masonic lodge, as well as classic theater spaces throughout the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities area.
Prenzie and the community
Prenzie has worked tirelessly to give back to the community by:
- Running verse acting workshops open to the public, teaching the fundamentals of verse
- Supporting local charities with read-throughs of plays, using members of the public and Prenzie actors
- Teaching stage combat classes
- Visiting classrooms at local high schools to discuss Shakespeare and how the plays’ stories are still relevant
- Partnering with English professors and classes at local colleges and universities
- 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization
- Performing since March 2003
- Casts actors based on ability without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or experience
- Committed to engaging and challenging audiences with intimate performances
What makes a Prenzie, a Prenzie
All Prenzie’s core actors study John Barton, co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and bring his genius to each performance. Many have also attended workshops with Andrew Wade, former head of voice with the Royal Shakespeare Company.