Ever since she was born, Courtney Winkelman has been coming to the Texas Shakespeare Festival with her mother, Val.
This year is different, though. Instead of just another year with Courtney visiting or volunteering, she is working as a scenic painter.
"We barely see each other, truth be told," TSF Production Manager and Historian Val Winkelman said, laughing. While Val spends most of her time in the festival center, Courtney works closely with the carpenters. "We really only see each other at meals, and even then, it's across the room."
TSF is a family legacy for the Winkelmans. Courtney spent her first summer in Kilgore as a 6-week-old baby, in the costume shop while her mother worked as a costume designer.
Val's husband and Courtney's older sister have both worked with the festival, and Val's mother, sister and niece are members of the TSF Guild. Even her grandmother was a member.
Last summer found Courtney in New York in an intensive scenic painting program at Cobalt Studios. This summer's work allows Courtney to progress in her training and pursuit of a bachelor's degree in theater from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
After volunteering in 2011 as a scenic painter, Courtney knew what the work day would be like before taking a job this year.
Some people she worked with then are back this year.
Courtney is serving as a tour guide of sorts to fellow TSF cast and crew who are spending their first summer with the festival. Whether it is field trips to East Texas Oil Museum or outings to local restaurants, Courtney has been showing everyone what to do in Kilgore.
The one thing Courtney said she did not account for was the exhaustion from working all day for six days a week most weeks. It is something she said she has learned to overcome, though, because of the satisfaction that comes with the finished product.
Chelsea Katz is a reporter for the Kilgore News Herald.
Shakespeare Festival Continues
The Texas Shakespeare Festival continues through July 27 with performances of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" and "Macbeth," comedy "Noises Off," musical "My Fair Lady" and children's show "The Lost Prince." Performances take place in Kilgore College's Van Cliburn Auditorium.
For tickets, call 903-983-8601 or go the website texasshakespeare.com.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. and matinees (as indicated with an *) at 2 p.m
"Cymbeline" — July 11*, 13*, 18, 20, 24*, 26*
"Noises Off" — July 11, 13, 17*, 19*, 24, 26
"Macbeth" — July 12*, 17, 19, 25*, 27*
"My Fair Lady" — July 12, 18*, 20*, 25, 27
"The Lost Prince" — (all performances at 10 a.m.) July 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23