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Whitefish Bay — Whitefish Bay High School senior Alison Pogorelc has been singing and acting in Milwaukee-area theater groups since she was 4 years old, but now she is trying her hand as director in a new youth theater company's production of 'Macbeth' this weekend.

Pogorelc is a member of the First Stage Young Company and has performed with countless other theater companies, including First Stage, Skylight Music Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Off the Wall Theatre, Windfall Theatre and Acacia Theatre Company.

She has won many awards throughout her acting career, and she recently trained in movement and speech with the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. In the fall, she will study acting at The New School of Drama in New York.

Pogorelc recently had an itch to form her own youth theater company. She reached out to her friends in First Stage Young Company, as well as other actors and actresses she knew from high school theater productions. They raised $4,000 for rehearsal space, props and costumes for their new organization, The Red Lion Theatre Company. All of the students are between the ages of 15 and 19.

Pogorelc said it was important for her to make the performance free in a public park, which might draw a larger audience than just friends and families of the cast.

'I think the community has not entirely been served in terms of the art we are presenting to the larger public,' she said. 'Many people can't afford to spend money on a luxury-like theater, so it was important for me to create something free and accessible, and maybe have it be someone's first opportunity with Shakespeare.'

This is Pogorelc's first time directing a play, which she said has been a valuable learning experience. She received guidance along the way from Patrick Schley, an arts administrator she met through First Stage.

'As an actor, you can know a text very well and try to understand it completely, but ultimately you are focusing on your own role,' Pogorelc said. 'As a director, you have to know every role as if it were your own.'

She said she chose 'Macbeth' because many people have a connection with the play, and it has been re-appropriated across many types of media. The piece also allows the young actors and actresses to flex their theatrical chops.

'Emotionally, it's not an easy play to put on, and to execute it well takes a really talented and well-trained group,' she said 'It will be a really great showcase of the incredible young talent that we have.'

Red Lion Theatre Company's production of 'Macbeth' will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, at the Lake Park Summer Stage, 3233 E. Kenwood Blvd.

The cast includes Henry Lynch (Macbeth) from Wauwatosa; Taylor Kass (Lady Macbeth) from Oconomowoc; Max Wilson (Macduff) from Bayside; Stephen Johnson (Banquo/Messenger) from Bayside; Max Pink (Malcolm) from Shorewood; Tony Scotton (Duncan/Seyton/Murderer) from Bayside; Liam Hartnett (Donalbain/Fleance/Young Siward/Macduff's Son) from Whitefish Bay; Alex Quade (Lennox) from Whitefish Bay; Alec Wellenstein (Ross) from Whitefish Bay; Natalie Alteri (Lady Macduff/Bloody Soldier/Gentle Woman) from Brookfield; Mackenzie Swart (Porter/Angus/Murderer) from Brookfield; Kyra Swanson (Attendant/Old Man/Lord/Murderer/Doctor) from Milwaukee; Josie Trettin (Witch 1) from Whitefish Bay; Zoey Knox (Witch 2) from Whitefish Bay; and Madisyn Fairchild (Witch 3) from Mukwonago.

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