The James Theater Fri, Sep 30, 2022 7:30 PM
The James Theater Sat, Oct 1, 2022 1:06 PM
The James Theater Sat, Oct 1, 2022 2:00 PM


The Iowa City Book Festival & Crooked Path Productions present..


Valor! Strength! Monsters! Hear the tale of Beowulf!


Adapted by Charlie Bethel
Performed by John Heimbuch
Directed by Amy Rummenie
John Heimbuch performs Charlie Bethel’s popular one-man adaptation of Beowulf!

This faithful and accessible adaptation of this classic Old English poem about a warrior king and
three famous monsters, emphasizes the wit, vigor, and meaty language of the original Anglo-Saxon


Writer Charlie Bethel was a renowned storyteller. He adapted Beowulf into a solo theatrical text in
2001, and performed it and at venues across the United States until his death in 2017.

John Heimbuch first performed Beowulf at the 2019 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and has performed it
at backyards, bars, schools, theatres, firesides, parks, conventions, and online ever since. He is proud
to continue the legacy of Charlie Bethel’s work.


Find more Iowa City Book Festival events here!


PRESS QUOTES for Beowulf

“Working from a superb script by Playwright Charlie Bethel… Heimbuch handles the
meticulous and unforgiving demanding language with a skill and dexterity that is
breathtaking. Heimbuch takes us back to a time before CGI, before algorithmic video
editing, before digital projections and reminds us all of the power of the human voice.”

– Earnest Kearney, theTVolution, June 2022


“Heimbuch was the poet narrator, pulling us into a strange, ancient world of beasts and
blood and bravery. He was the heroic Beowulf and the helpless King Hrothgar; the wise,
philosophical “gold-ringed” Queen Wealththeow; the ravening monster Grendel and his
swamp-monster mother; young Wiglaf, Beowulf’s successor; and more. He postured, he
roared, he fought epic battles. He made us shiver and laugh. It was an hour of powerful
theater. Some parts sounded as if they could have been written today, which is true of all
great stories.”

– Pamela Espeland, MinnPost, May 2020
John Heimbuch (performer) is an award-winning performer, director, and playwright based in
Minneapolis, where he’s Co-Artistic Director of Walking Shadow Theatre Company. Among his
most popular plays are William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, The Transdimensional Couriers Union, The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the immersive puzzle show Cabal. He has been performing Charlie
Bethel’s Beowulf since 2019 and Gilgamesh since 2021.


Charlie Bethel (writer) was the creator of numerous critically acclaimed solo shows, including
Beowulf, Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Call of the Wild, Seven Poor Travellers and others, many of which
premiered at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He also performed at Orlando Shakespeare Theater,
Trinity Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare
Festival, Illusion Theater, Jungle Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Joseph Campbell's
Centenary Celebration, and the Mythic Journeys Conference in Atlanta. He passed away in 2017 and
is deeply missed by his many friends and family. 


Amy Rummenie (director) is Co-Artistic Director of Walking Shadow Theatre Company in
Minneapolis, where she has directed many highly acclaimed productions, including Beowulf, Gabriel,
The Three Musketeers, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare’s Land of the
Dead, 21 Extremely Bad Breakups, and many others.


Sarah Heller (dramaturg) studied English literature and philosophy at the University of
Wisconsin., and specialized in the mythology of Britain and Northern Europe at the Mythgard
Institute. She is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.

EVENT: Beowulf
ADAPTED BY:  Charlie Bethel
PERFORMED BY: John Heimbuch
DIRECTED BY: Amy Rummenie
NOTE:  Storytelling, Classic Literature, One Person Show, In-Person, Touring Show
RUNTIME:  60 minutes