Wednesday, November 12, 2014

GSC News: Grassroots Levels Up

Today, we’re happy to announce that Grassroots Shakespeare is now an officially recognized 501 (c)(3) status non-profit organization!

What does this mean?

This is a HUGE deal. This means that we’re now eligible for a wide range of grants and funding opportunities. And any donations made to Grassroots are now tax-deductible.

Where we've come from:

For the past five years, we’ve been operating on a prayer and a shoestring:

  • A good portion of our revenue has come in the form of small, non-deductible, one-time donations at shows and on Kickstarter—truly a grassroots effort.

  • In addition, our workforce consists entirely of volunteers who have contributed thousands and thousands of unpaid hours as a labor of love.

Five years ago, we started with nothing more than the grass under our feet and a yellow rope to mark out the playing space. Since then, we've mounted nearly two dozen shows, built an Elizabethan-inspired touring stage, hosted the world's leading expert on Original Practices, presented at the American Shakespeare Center, started sister companies Grassroots London and Grassroots Alabama, and most importantly: we've connected with passionate and engaged Shakespeare fans all over the world.

Where we're going:

In order to keep Grassroots going, we need to find a way to provide competitive compensation for our amazingly talented teams of artists and collaborators. (Without which, our talent will continue to move on to bigger, better, and more lucrative opportunities.)
Obtaining 501 (c)(3) status is our first major step towards providing our artists with fair compensation.

With your help, we also plan on:
  • Re-building our wooden Elizabethan-inspired touring stage: It's been transported to every corner of Utah, assembled in the sun, rain, wind, and snow (not an exaggeration). It is literally coming apart at the seams.
  • Improving our Costume Stock: Costuming was perhaps the most visually appealing element of Shakespeare's theatre. We think we can up our game when it comes to costuming. Additional funds will help greatly in this effort.
  • Bringing more shows to you! As we grow, our main goal remains of bringing you the rowdiest, fastest, most engaging Shakespeare in the West.

How Can I Help?

  • Would you like to make a tax-deductible donation to Grassroots Shakespeare today? Drop us a line at and we’ll guide you through the quick and easy process.
  • Do you know someone who would like to sponsor the arts here in Utah? Send them our way!

By Shopping on Amazon!?

Yes! If you select Grassroots as your charity of choice, Amazon will donate a percentage of their profits to our cause. It won’t cost you anything extra, and only takes about 15 seconds to sign up for. Just follow this link for the one-time set-up:

So what are you waiting for? Send us some love today!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Titus Andronicus 2014: Andy Hansen "Baked Brain, Steak and Kidney Pie and Head Cheese"

Post by Titus Andronicus cast member Andy Hansen:

Baked Brain

About 1 pound raw Brain
2 Tb Butter
2 Tb white vinegar
1 Bay Leaf (You may use two, but one, I think, is sufficient)
3-4 pepper corns
1 tsp black pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup flour
Submerge the brain in cold water and add vinegar, leave soaking for one hour.
Without removing it from, gently remove membrane from the brain. Once the membrane is removed, replace water. Make sure brain is fully submerged.
Put salt, pepper corns, bay leaf and the remaining vinegar in water and heat. As soon as water boils, reduce heat and let boil slowly for 20 minutes.
Remove boiled brain and drain in strainer for 3-5 minutes. When almost dry, cut the brain into 1-2 inch pieces.
In a pan, heat butter. Toss brain in flour then fry with onion, black pepper.
When brain has been browned, mix in sour cream. Pour into a glass pan and cook in oven for an additional 20-30 minutes.
Can be served with fresh or cooked vegetables.

Steak and Kidney Pie

1 Tb drippings or cooking oil
1 1/2 lbs. meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 kidneys, trimmed and diced
12 puff pastry
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rough dice
4 large flat mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 pint meat stock
Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
Heat a large frying pan with a little of the drippings or oil. Season meat with salt and pepper. Fry in pan until well colored and completely sealed. Lift out the meat and transfer to a large saucepan. Add a touch more drippings, if necessary. Season the kidney and also fry to seal and color in the hot pan. Also transfer to the saucepan.
Melt a knob of butter in the pan and cook the onions and carrots for 2-3 minutes. (They will lift any flavors left from the meats.) Put into the saucepan with the meat. Fry mushrooms in more butter, just turning the pan for a minute or two, keep to one side.
Place the saucepan on medium heat, stir in the flour and allow it to cook another 2-3 minutes. Add tomato puree, bay leaf, and mushrooms. Pour in the meat stock, and bring to a simmer, skimming off any impurities. The meat should just be covered with the stock. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During the cooking time, it may need to be skimmed several times.
After 1 1/2 hours, check the meat for tenderness. If not quite soft enough, cook for an additional 30 minutes. If the meat is cooking gently, it will not need to be topped up with any additional stock. The sauce will have reduced, thickening and increasing the flavor.
Taste for seasoning, adding a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce to the mixture. Transfer to a 2 pint pie dish, and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Roll the pastry 1/4 inch thick. Cut a strip of pastry to sit around the rim of the dish, this will help the top to stay on. Brush the rim of the pie dish with some beaten egg and apply the strip. Brush again with egg. Making sure the pastry top is bigger than the dish, sit it on top. Push down around the sides, trim and crimp for a neat finish. Brush completely with egg wash and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Head Cheese

One or two whole heads
5 or 6 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
(Optionally, some vegetables cut in large cubes to flavor the stock: carrots, leeks, onions, and celery are all great options)
Place head(s) in a large pot and cover with cold water.
Add aromatic vegetables, crushed garlic, cloves, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Since the stock will be part of the final dish, its important to give it some taste with either aromatic vegetables, or spices, or both.
Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the meat on head is fork tender. (About 3 hours.)
Remove head(s) from water, wait until the meat can be picked without burning yourself and then pick the meat in small pieces and place in a shallow container.
Put the skull(s) back into the hot water, and simmer for another 6 to 24 hours. The longer you go, the more will be extracted from the bones and the more gelatinous it will get when cooled.
Once the stock is done, pour some over the cooked meat, just enough to cover.
Place the container in the refrigerator and let it cool.
Enjoy your lovely homemade head cheese!

About Andy Hansen:
Andy Hansen is playing Marcus in Titus Andronicus

Andy Hansen is extremely excited to work once again with the Grassroots Shakespeare Company's production of Titus Andronicus! This will be Andy's second role with Grassroots, the first being Stephano/Antontio in The Tempest. Have a Happy Halloween!

Titus Andronicus performs at the Castle Amphitheater in Provo Utah from Oct 17th-November 1st 2014. Tickets and Details HERE