By REBECCA LEFTWICH|Sep. 30, 2019 – 1:07 PM

Director Dale Lyles wants to make certain Newnan is ready for “As You Like It” when the Shakespeare comedy opens in March.

Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 9, Lyles will lead a series of workshops at the Newnan Theatre Company on The Bard’s “sunniest” play, historical background, how to “do Shakespeare,” themes, and how those themes can be developed via costumes, sets, sound and visuals.

“Any older show requires more work because we need to understand the society that produced it, from the madcap style of the 1930s to the artificial structures of the 18th century,” Lyles said.

And Shakespeare requires extra effort.

“His language is 450 years old, he writes in verse, much of his comedy is topical – related to current events of his time – and there are so many layers to his work that it takes a while to explore them all,” he said.

“As You Like It” will open March 19 at Newnan Theatre Company, and auditions are Jan. 26-27. It will be the 10th Shakespeare show Lyles has directed over a 44-year career with 100-plus shows in the director’s seat, including “The Winter’s Tale,” “Pericles,” “Prince of Tyre,” “Henry VI, Part 3” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

While Lyles said he has a lot he can and will teach during the workshops, he emphasized that they are meant to be a study group, not a lecture series.

“I am more interested in ideas others have to contribute,” he said. “The goal is for some lucky persons actually to design the show.”

Other meetings will be determined at the first workshop, and Lyles said the series will finish sometimes before Christmas.

The study group is open to everyone. Participants will need a copy of “As You Like It,” any edition (Lyles said the differences will play into the discussion); a notebook or sketchbook; and a pen or pencil. Those attending should wear comfortable clothes and shoes that allow them to move around.