Who hasn’t heard of William Shakespeare? From enacting his plays in drama class to reading them in English literature classes as a student, we are all familiar with his works. April 23rd, 2021 marked the 405th anniversary of his death at a relatively young age of 52.
His work is still alive more than four centuries later, with his plays being performed on every continent, in nearly every major human language. To mark his anniversary, Shakespeare festivals take place all over the United States, performed by both small community theatres and major theatre companies. We can learn a lot about the famous bard by reading the essay on William Shakespeare and attending these festivals. All the festivals celebrate the amazing legacy of the greatest playwright in the history of the English language. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Ashland
This festival in Ashland is the Tony Award-winning US Shakespeare festival and has been around for over 80 years. More than 400,000 playgoers visit Ashland to see the 11 plays staged there.
The plays are staged in 3 venues – Angus Bowmer Theater, Thomas Theater, and Allen Elizabethan Theater. Various Shakespearean plays such as ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘The Winter’s Tale’, etc. are performed.
Utah Shakespeare Festival – Cedar City
This Shakespearean festival is organized in Cedar city and is one of the best theatre events in the US. It was given a Tony Award in 2000 for ‘Outstanding Regional Theater’. From June to October every year, this theatre presents nine Shakespearean plays every year.
The Engelstad Shakespeare is a replica of England’s Globe Theatre, and you get the ultimate Elizabethan theater experience here.
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
This professional theatre company is associated with the University of Colorado-Boulder and has been around since 1958. With the help of productions each summer, this festival has celebrated Shakespeare and his amazing work.
The productions are staged in the Mary Rippon Theater and the University Theater.
Illinois Shakespeare Festival
This amazing festival is delivered in Bloomington by the Theater Department of Illinois State University. Presently in its 38th season, it has acquired global acknowledgement, arranging 36 plays in the cutting edge 438-seat outdoor Elizabethan-style Ewing Theater.
This production company started delivering its yearly Shakespeare in 1971, which makes it one of the oldest festivals in the US.
Playgoers appreciate the outdoor seating for exhibitions at the Samuell Grand Park Amphitheater and sometimes at Addison Circle Park.
California Shakespeare Festival
This Shakespearean festival first started out in 1973 introducing Shakespeare’s plays at Hinkel Park in Berkeley. In 1991, the production company started performing in the 545-seat Bruns Memorial Amphitheater which is solar-powered.
It is situated in a beautiful, scenic, mountainous country among Berkeley and Orinda.
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.
This theatre company has facilitated over 150 creations of Bard’s plays during its 27-year history, engaging some 2.5-million individuals on its stages at Sidney Harman Hall and Lansburgh Theater.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Been around for more than 30 years, this company stages a spectacular Shakespeare festival on the grounds of the Boscobel House and Gardens in garrison in New York City. It also presents touring shows in the entire Hudson Valley.
Its plays and productions are known all over the country and people travel long distances to see the plays and characters brought to life so beautifully.
Fairbanks Shakespeare Festival
Without question, the Fairbanks Shakespeare festival is one of its kind. It started in 1992 with a performance of the famous play, ‘Twelfth Night’ in Alaska and it hasn’t looked back since then. It has grown into an international touring company and a year-round production.
Apart from the outdoor performances of Shakespearean plays, the company also offers an educational program including the annual Bard-a-thon in February each year.
Best Shakespeare Festival in America – Final Word
Even though the world has undergone significant changes since Shakespeare’s time, basic human nature hasn’t changed a lot. Ambition, hate, greed, lust, love, sorrow, joy – these integral human emotions are explored in each play by Shakespeare and they are what keeps the Bard relevant and significant hundreds of years later.
With a global pandemic going on, the dates of the Shakespeare festivals might differ but you can still check the availability and attend these festivals.