I think it is about time to meet Ashley Pierce, finally. So, I am Ashley, but before I begin to tell you why I love Shakespeare and Acting and Upstart and well all the amazing people you are going to read about, I need to preface something. I have feelings about Shakespeare…strong ones…sorry. Now that we got that out of the way allow me to tell you a little more about me and how I fit into this crazy puzzle known as Upstart Arts.
I cultivated my love for the Bard young, like when I first started to read young. My mom purchased me a copy of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare. For those of you who do not know this publication it is in essence a handful of Shakespeare’s plays formatted in narrative stories. I read it in one day, probably less since at the time I just learned to read on my own and had a severe addiction (which never went away). Once done I went to her and asked for more. I was so enthralled with the tales and characters that I could not get enough. So, at the tender age of roughly 5 (mom was a kindergarten teacher so we did things early in our house) my mom purchased me my first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. I can still remember the first time I saw his writing style and how it didn’t seem hard to me to understand his meaning. Research actually shows introducing children to Shakespeare when they are first learning to read is the best way to help them comprehend the language. I devoured that play and asked for seconds, it wasn’t too long before I had read every play and knew I was hooked for life.
Shakespeare has become so much of who I am as a person that I decided to become an Actor. I have been performing in his works for over 19 years (off and on). I have performed in most of his plays, some plays multiple times, and have been cast as males and females throughout his cannon of work. My first play was Romeo and Juliet and I have performed in that work over 8 times. Shakespeare is so much a part of my life that I went to Graduate School and hold two Master’s degrees in Shakespeare and Performance.
All of this allowed me the opportunity when I was in high school to discover Theater Under the Trees, an outdoor touring Shakespeare show in the parks of York, PA. This is where I met all the amazing people who now make up Upstart Arts. I worked with them off and on since 2005, a few years I was out of state and could not perform with them. However, I always come back (they fed me once and now can’t get rid of me). So, when Upstart Arts started this year I knew I would do everything and anything I could to support and continue to work with these amazing, talented, intelligent, and wonderful people. (Plus, I keep trying to get them to give me the name of Supreme Overlord of Shakespeare).
I am looking forward to this upcoming season and the chance to start something new and wonderful with Upstart Arts, as we continue to bring theatre to York, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.