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Meet Alle Mims of Altered Shakespeare in Uptown, Deep Ellum, Oak Cliff

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alle Mims.

Alle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I moved to Dallas from San Diego at 18. At the time, I was living with an abusive father, with no idea what I wanted to do. The only solace I found was at school, specifically theatre classes. I have always loved performing, and, against my parents’ better judgment, I majored in theatre.  I started my first professional show, “The Tempest” at Shakespeare Dallas, in the fall of 2016, and continued to work around the metroplex from there.

I found a special love for theatre through Shakespeare. Unfortunately, the options for Shakespearean companies was limited and the opportunities they gave people of color and women even more so. It was around the fall of 2019 when I got a group of friends together and we decided to create our own Shakespearean troupe: Altered Shakespeare. We created this company to give opportunities to marginalized artists and untapped talent. We opened our first show, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, in November. We also have another comedy in the works that we haven’t announced yet, but there will be no lack of twins on stage.

Has it been a smooth road?
I was broke and alone when I came to Texas, but I was lucky enough to find people who took me in. Since moving out of my dad’s house, I have depended on the kindness of strangers to help me find a place to stay, get through college and even buy a car. I am incredibly blessed to have friends who prove that old saying “the blood of the coven is thicker than the water of the womb.”

While there will always be struggles in this industry, especially as a queer woman of color in the arts, I feel that every year my life gets better and I’m grateful for that fact. I try to appreciate the opportunities I get while still acknowledging there is much work to be done.

Please tell us about Altered Shakespeare.
Altered Shakespeare is a troupe composed of Shakespeare lovers from all walks of life. My co-producer, Clew, and I started the company when we felt as though we weren’t being given the same opportunities as the cis straight white men who dominate Shakespeare shows in Dallas. We gathered a group of like-minded friends (Shawn Gann, Chris Sanders, Bobby Garcia, Tia Laulusa, and Jonah Gutierrez) and set about creating our first show.

We are just starting out, but we want to be known as a company that brings accessible Shakespeare to the people! Think of it as a pop-up Shakespeare show. To accomplish this, we perform in bars, coffee shops, parks, black boxes, anywhere that will have us! Our last show was performed at Lola’s Trailer Park in Ft Worth and Union Coffee in Uptown. We hope to continue to build lasting relationships with venues that fit with our mission of giving opportunities to previously overlooked communities.

We are EXTREMELY proud to pay all our artists involved with building the show. As theatre artists, we are used to working for free, especially for small pop-up shows like this. It felt amazing as a producer to be able to pay everyone after the show had closed.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Dallas is perfect for low-budget, accessible, guerilla theatre like this. Dallas loves a show, but they haven’t necessarily been introduced to theatre, specifically Shakespeare and the classics, in a positive way. Or, they may think of it as a “white thing” because of the way it has been presented over and over in the past. Our hope is to expand

Our hope is that this style of theatre expands to more than just Shakespeare in a bar, but also performances in found spaces, non-traditional casting choices and a focus on the words as opposed to the spectacle of theatre. All of this is done in service to make Shakespeare, and theatre in general, more accessible to modern audiences while also keeping cost down for scrappy little companies like ours.

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Image Credit:
Bryan Oliveira

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