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Shakespeare in the park

Emily Wold, right, plays the Duchess of Venice during a performance of "Othello" as a part of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks at Veterans Park on Sunday.

Montana’s summer traditions are many — hiking, boating, grilling, to name a few. 

In that way, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks isn’t so different; on a beautiful summer evening, people flock outdoors. 

But, as Bridget Beck said, this time it's to “bring a little culture in our lives.”

Beck and her children were among scores of people who showed up early for Shakespeare in the Parks' performance of "Othello" at Veterans Park on Sunday. The previous night, the group performed "Love's Labour's Lost." 

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Shakespeare in the park

Attendees watch a performance of "Othello" as a part of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks at Veterans Park on Sunday.

The program has been performing the bard's best across Montana since 1973 when it hosted shows in seven communities. Most stops are in small towns, from Ekalaka to Eureka. The group also makes stops in Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and North Dakota, and cycles through the two plays between locations.

The 10-actor troupe is based out of a trailer, including all their setup and take-down. In Billings, dressing rooms consisted of a table propped up behind the Veterans Park stage. 

Billings is one of the group's more tame venues compared to the likes of Poker Jim Butte and its fire tower near Birney or the Old Montana Prison grounds in Deer Lodge. 

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Shakespeare in the park

Actors perform in a showing of "Othello" as a part of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks at Veterans Park.

But Veterans Park was an ideal location if you asked Beck, who joked that she needed a picnic spread to bribe her kids to come. 

"We've come for a few years now," her son, Dan Beck, said. 

And, he added, no bribes were required. 

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Shakespeare in the park

Joe Faifer plays Iago during a performance of "Othello" as a part of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks at Veterans Park on Sunday.

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Billings Gazette.