Kentucky Shakespeare Announces 63rd Season of Free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park
Kentucky Shakespeare, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth, announces the 63rd annual free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival May 24-August 6, 2023, at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Old Louisville’s Central Park.
“I’m honored to kick off my 10th season as Producing Artistic Director and announce a thrilling 63rd season of your Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park! The eleven-week season features 62 performances, seven productions, all presented absolutely free to audience members.” said Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director. “We’ll kick off the main stage season with a magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring a flying Puck, made possible by ZFX Flying Effects. It will be followed by witches returning to Central Park in the classic spooky tragedy, Macbeth, and a whimsical production of Love’s Labor’s Lost, set at a resort in the 1950’s. The play was last performed on the main stage in 2001, incidentally, my first season with the company as an actor. The season will again feature two weeks of rotating repertory in July in which all three productions will rotate nightly.”
In addition to the three main stage productions, Kentucky Shakespeare will present a production by their Globe Players professional training program for high school students, plus a new production of Shakespeare in Dance from Louisville Ballet (this year inspired by Macbeth), and Late Night Shakes, a Shakespearean improvisation comedy show from the Louisville Improvisors. New this year, the Louisville Fringe Festival will present three late night performances of their GLOBE Arm Wrestling, featuring Shakespeare characters going arm-to-arm in a unique live theatrical experience. The Kids’ Globe tent will open an hour before every performance during the summer with free interactive arts-based activities tied to the production, and various community pre-show groups will perform at 7:15PM nightly throughout the summer.
All performances are presented free of charge at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, the longest-running non-ticketed Shakespeare festival in the United States.
A variety of 36+ food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association will rotate nightly, plus Will’s Tavern (a Brown-Forman Bar) and Will’s Gift Shop.
6:00pm Food Trucks Open
7:00pm Will’s Tavern, Will’s Gift Shop, and Kids’ Globe open
7:15pm Community Pre-Show Performance
8:00pm Production Begins
Please visit kyshakespeare.com for more information and schedules.
The 2023 Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Wallace
May 24-June 11; July 12, 15, 18, 21 (no performances on Mondays or Tuesdays)
“What fools these mortals be!”
The season kicks off with Shakespeare’s magical, beguiling comedy following four young lovers and a bumbling band of players into an enchanted forest realm of fairies and moonlight revels.
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Amy Attaway
June 15-25; July 11, 14, 19, 22 (no performances on Mondays or Tuesdays in June)
“Something wicked this way comes.”
Witches return to Central Park in this haunting and epic tale of blind ambition, unchecked greed, and twisted prophesy – a thrilling tragedy of historic proportions.
Love’s Labor’s Lost
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Wallace
June 29-July 9; July 13, 16, 20, 23 (no performances on Mondays or Tuesdays)
“We lose ourselves to keep our oaths.”
Shakespeare’s early romantic comedy is a joyful celebration of love and a coming-of-age story of oaths made and broken, lovers lost and found, and the follies of the heart.
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players
The Two Gentleman of Verona
Directed by Kyle Ware
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players professional training program take the stage, directed by Director of Education Kyle Ware. The cast is comprised of students from multiple area high schools and the production is the culmination of a five-week training program.
Shakespeare in Dance: Macbeth
The final week of the summer season, Louisville Ballet returns to the Festival stage for a sixth season to present Shakespeare in Dance, a Shakespeare-inspired dance premiere based on Macbeth.
Late Night Shakes
10:30PM on June 10, June 24, July 8, and July 22
The Louisville Improvisors return for an eighth year with Late Night Shakes on select Saturdays, bringing late night improvised Shakespeare plays created from audience suggestions.
Louisville Fringe Festival presents
GLOBE Arm Wrestling
10:30PM on June 17, July 1, and July 15
Louisville Fringe Festival makes its Kentucky Shakespeare debut, presenting this hilarious late night show featuring Shakespeare characters and professional wrestling style antics, going arm-to-arm in this unique live theatrical event.
***Note to reviewers: the start dates listed above for the main stage season are the PREVIEW PERFORMANCES. We ask that you please plan to review the OPENING performances on Friday, May 26 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Friday, June 16 (Macbeth), and Friday, June 30 (Love’s Labor’s Lost).***
ASL interpretation will be provided for the following performances: Thursday, June 1 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Thursday, June 22 for Macbeth, Thursday, July 6 for Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Thursday, July 27 for Globe Players The Two Gentlemen of Verona. (For all ASL scheduled performances, the makeup rain date will be the following evening.)
Karl Anderson (Scenic Designer)
Casey Clark (Lighting Designer)
Laura Ellis (Sound Designer)
Donna Lawrence-Downs (Costume Designer)
Alfie Jones (Choreographer)
Eric Frantz (Fight Choreographer – Macbeth)
Russell Cooper (Music Director – A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Gregory Maupin (Dramaturg/Editor)
2023 ACTING COMPANY
Sarah Chen Elston
Abigail Bailey Maupin
Brittany “BeeBee” Patillo
Tony Reimonenq III
Season sponsors include Fund for the Arts, Brown-Forman, Republic Bank, the Kentucky Arts Council, and Louisville Metro.
Kentucky Shakespeare will again partner with The Audience Group, your connection to the arts and entertainment scene in Louisville, providing their free Audience program guide for audience members throughout the summer.