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Hidden Wings students with show director Aimee Carroll practice Shakespeare scenes at the Buellton Botanic Gardens ahead of their scheduled weekend performances that are open to the public.

Shakespeare is coming to Buellton this weekend.

Hidden Wings student-actors are slated to perform excerpts from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet" at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden's outdoor amphitheater in Buellton. 

"For two years — eight months live, 16 months via Zoom — our noble autistic young adults have adapted, made costumes, helped rewrite dialogue for excerpts of two of the great Shakespearean plays," said Hidden Wings co-founder Jim Billington.

Showtimes have been moved up by a month to get ahead of the fall and winter flu season that Billington fears may exacerbate COVID-19 concerns.

"We're protective of our students," he said. "If we are mandated to close, you would see hearts broken like never before. The entire school is involved in the show!"

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Hidden Wings students practice scenes from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Buellton Botanic Garden ahead of the scheduled weekend performances that are open to the public.

Therefore, the nonprofit organization, which guides young adults with autism to live full and productive lives in society, is "seizing the moment" by fast-tracking the shows to better assure that the hard-working actors who will be decked out in costumes and perform to choreography can shine their light — and members of the community can be there to witness it, Billington said.

"We can show the world (or whomever shows up) what a spectacular, and I mean spectacular job, these folks have done," he added. 

Attendance is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/HiddenWingsSchool.

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A Hidden Wings student rehearses ahead of the scheduled weekend performances slated for Saturday and Sunday.

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, both products of the Santa Maria Times.

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