0111 HCT

Christy Rhianna Branch

HICKORY — The plot of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “As You Like It” centers around the adventures of its heroine, Rosalind, an exiled noblewoman who has to disguise herself as a man so that she can safely escape into the forest. This pivotal role is played by Christy Rhianna Branch in the Hickory Community Theatre production.

Branch is from Morganton and has a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Lees-McRae College. Her most recent role on the Hickory stage was in “Lend Me a Tenor” in January. Her most favorite HCT experience was in 2014 when she played the title role in the world premiere of “The Seamstress,” an original work by Florida playwright Cece Dwyer. That play was a winning script in a national festival and HCT was one of only six theatres to take part. Beside her work in Hickory, Branch has taken on numerous roles with Foothills Performing Arts and Old Colony Players, including several summers in the professional outdoor drama “From This Day Forward” in Valdese.

“As You Like It” is the story of Rosalind, Shakespeare’s most charismatic and irresistible heroine. Oppressed and exiled from Court under threat of death, she escapes with her cousin into the wild and unpredictable Forest of Arden. Disguised as a boy for her own safety, she is able to create a world of her own, reveling in her newfound independence. A chance encounter with the love-struck Orlando complicates this new life.

Performances of “As You Like It” are Feb. 1-17 on Fridays and Saturdays (Feb. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16) at 8 p.m., Thursdays (Feb. 7 and 14) at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays (Feb. 10 and 17) at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for Fridays through Sundays are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (60 and older, and $10 for students and youth 18 and younger. Tickets for Thursday night performances are $14 for adults and $10 for students and youth 18 and younger. Call the box office at 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org to purchase tickets or get more information.

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