Craft Beer Guide

Collar City Players Perform Monthly Shakes-BEER Readings at Troy Pub

A troupe of thespians performs Shakespeare’s popular works, cold brew in hand

All the world’s a stage, Shakespeare famously wrote — and he’d no doubt be pleased to learn that in Troy, one such stage is a brewery and tap room. Once a month, Rare Form Brewing Company hosts “Shakes-BEER,” a participatory reading of one of the Bard’s plays directed by a troupe of thespians known as the Collar City Players.

Related: Rare Form Brewing Company Mixes Beer and Art

Matt MacArevey, the artistic director of the Players, got the idea while a college student in London, where he performed in pubs. “With Troy going through this fantastic renaissance in the last few years, I thought it was a good time to try to legitimize that with more arts,” he says. The long-range goal is to perform outdoor plays in the summer, and these readings are a way to generate community and business support to help convince the city that a summer stage would be supported.

At the readings, audience members “of varying skill,” he says, take on roles. “They have a script in one hand and a beer in the other.” The events started in July 2014; they have been so successful, MacArevey says, that other venues are asking to host readings too. “It’s taken off a lot quicker than we expected.”

Related: Shakesbeer Festival Returns to Poughkeepsie for Second Year

Although we now consider Shakespeare the highest of highbrow, MacArevey thinks Old Will would approve of the beery scene. “The groundlings that he wrote for would have appreciated a cold craft beer while watching,” he says. “The bawdy humor and wit are accentuated by how much beer is consumed.”

The Collar City Players read Hamlet this month. For the exact dates and times of future events, visit their Facebook page at

If you go...

Shakes-BEER Read-Along: Hamlet
When: Thurs., Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Rare Form Brewing Company, 90 Congress St., Troy
Details: 518-326-4303;

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