OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The non-profit Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Paseo is in their first full season back after the COVID-19 pandemic, in their newly remodeled space just in time for their family-friendly Christmas program.

“It’s interactive, immersive, it’s family oriented, and it’s Christmas joy,” said executive director Tyler Woods.

Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Paseo is back in action.

In December, Woods said patrons will be whisked away to the 18th century, with Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker.

“You walk through the front doors and you’re immediately greeted by the sites and smells of Christmas,” said Woods. “I always refer to it as sort of a Christmas bon bon.”

Woods said the Black Box Theater will be transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas trees, ornaments, sweet treats, and drinks. Patrons will also play parlor games, sing Christmas Carols, and even dance with the local cast.

“You can come up  and dance with Mr. Darcy or Jane Austen herself, and you learn the steps. And it’s easier than you’d think,” said Woods. “We’ve literally taught little three and four year old children all the way up to grandmas and grandpas.”

This Christmas is extra special for the non-profit because it’s their first season back after being hit by the pandemic. That’s when COVID-19 forced theater productions outside.

So, the non-profit gathered funds to create a new outdoor theater, the Shakespeare Gardens, which can seat up to 200 people. However, that also meant the inside needed a face lift as well. Woods said he took off his director’s cap, put on his construction hat, and got to work.

“I would get here every morning. I’d meet the guys sometimes at 7:00am. I watched the sun come up more than once,” said Woods. “Worked with carpenters and plumbers and electricians and, you know, you name it.”

Woods said the crews took the theater down to the studs and rebuilt it to ensure everything was ADA compliant.

If the name Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Paseo is ringing a bell, that’s because it is the same group that used to put on Shakespeare in the Park at Hafer Park in Edmond.

Now, the intimate theater can seat 55 people.

Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker starts in December, but Woods said tickets are selling fast.

Woods said OK Shakes main bread and butter is education outreach. Right now, they’re traveling to rural schools to put on free shows that make it easier to understand Shakespeare.

For more information, visit their website.