Hickory – The plot of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It centers around the adventures of its heroine, Rosalind, an exiled noblewoman who has to disguise herself as a man so that she can safely escape into the forest.

This pivotal role is played by Christy Rhianna Branch in the HCT production. Branch is from Morganton and has a Bachelor’s degree in theatre from Lees-McRae College. Her most recent role on the Hickory stage was in Lend Me a Tenor in January. Her most favorite HCT experience was in 2014 when she played the title role in the World Premiere of “The Seamstress,” an original work by Florida playwright Cece Dwyer. That play was a winning script in a national festival and HCT was one of only six theatres to take part.

Besides her work in Hickory, Branch has taken on numerous roles with Foothills Performing Arts and Old Colony Players, including several summers in the professional outdoor drama From This Day Forward in Valdese.

As You Like It is the story of Rosalind – Shakespeare’s most charismatic and irresistible heroine. Oppressed and exiled from Court under threat of death, she escapes with her cousin into the wild and unpredictable Forest of Arden. Disguised as a boy, for her own safety, she is able to create a world of her own, reveling in her newfound independence. A chance encounter with the love-struck Orlando complicates this new life.

Performances of As You Like It are February 1-17, 2019, Fridays and Saturdays (Feb 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16) at 8:00pm, Thursdays (Feb 7 & 14) at 7:30pm and Sundays (Feb 10 & 17) at 2:30pm.

Tickets for Fridays through Sundays are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (60 and over), and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets for Thursday night performances are $14 for adults and $10 for students and youth 18 and under.

Call the box office at 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org to purchase tickets or get more information. HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

The Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. As You Like It is produced by Catawba Radiology.

Photo: Christy Rhianna Branch plays the leading role of Rosalind in As You Like It. The Shakespeare comedy opens on February 1, on the Jeffers Mainstage at the Hickory Community Theatre. Photo by Carol Anne Hartman Photography.