Summer 2021 season planning is well under way! We are working on our COVID-19 protocols, procedures, and permitting, for a safe return to live theatre this summer: Together again in Central Park.
Stay tuned here for updates.
Food & drinks available
Dogs are welcome
2021 Summer Season of Free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park
Shakespeare in Love
Directed by Matt Wallace; Presented by Churchill Downs
Directed by Amy Attaway
Midsummer, Dance, & Improv
Globe Players, Louisville Ballet, and the Louisville Improvisors
Shakespeare in Love presented by Churchill Downs
Based on the screenplay of the Oscar-winning film by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, with music by Paddy Cunneen
Directed by Matt Wallace
June 16-July 31, 2021
The stage adaptation of the 1998 Oscar-winning film, featuring music, dance, 20 performers, and a dog. Will Shakespeare has writer’s block, the deadline for his new play is fast approaching, and he’s in desperate need of inspiration, until he finds his muse!
Henry V By William Shakespeare
Directed by Amy Attaway
July 8-August 1, 2021
Shakespeare’s epic history play – a classic tale of kingship and war that explores the making of a legend. The production features original music from Wax Fang’s Scott Carney.
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players
professional training program for high school students A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Kyle Ware
August 4-8, 2021
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players Professional Training Program for high school students will present the magical comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Kentucky Shakespeare’s Director of Education Kyle Ware. The cast is comprised of students from multiple area high schools and the production is the culmination of a 6-week training program.
Louisville Improvisors Late Night Shakes
Select Saturdays at 10:30PM
The Louisville Improvisors return for a 6th year with Late Night Shakes on select Saturdays bringing late night improvised Shakespeare plays created from audience suggestions.
Louisville Ballet Shakespeare in Dance
August 11-15, 2021
Rounding out the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival season, Louisville Ballet returns to the Festival stage for a fifth season to present Shakespeare in Dance, a Shakespeare-inspired dance premiere.
For dates and up-to-the-minute information and updates, download the free Kentucky Shakespeare app at Google Play or iTunes.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival’s performances are held at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Central Park in Louisville, KY. Central Park is located in the heart of Old Louisville’s historic preservation district, at the corner of Fourth & Magnolia Streets. The amphitheater features permanent bench seating, with additional open spaces available for portable chairs and blankets in front and back of the bench seating and on the lawn right and left of the audience. There is also bleacher and picnic table seating available at the rear of the amphitheater. Central Park is also home to the Louisville Metro Police Department’s 4th Division and the Old Louisville Visitors Center.
There is street parking available surrounding the park on Fourth Street, Magnolia, Sixth Street, and Park. Please do not park in front of any of the bus stop signs, or you may be ticketed or towed. There are a limited number of accessible spots in the parking lot behind the information center with a sidewalk ramp into the park. Enter via sidewalks by the police substation or by the tennis courts.
Food & Drinks
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival partners with local vendors to provide food and drinks before and during performances.
Along with great performances, food and drinks, the Festival includes community pre-show entertainment that’s perfect for all ages. Check out the video below to see what a magical evening with Kentucky Shakespeare is all about.
Meet the Actors
Our 2021 summer company features 22 actors, most of whom are members of our thriving Louisville arts community. Many of our cast members have been performing with the Festival for decades, and some are new to our stage!
Due to COVID-19 government health and safety restrictions, the following changes will be made for the 2021 Kentucky Shakespeare Festival:
ENTRY: If you are feeling ill, have a temperature, or have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, please do not attend. This summer the amphitheater will be operating at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. This year there will be fencing around the amphitheater and limited points of entry to the seating area. When you arrive, please read signage and follow instructions from our staff. In the event that we reach capacity, you will be offered a voucher to guarantee admittance at the following performance. Friday and Saturdays are traditionally the more crowded nights. If you can, we invite you to consider another night to assist with reducing capacity and spreading out audiences.
MASKS: All audience members are required to wear a mask or face covering as mandated by the state of Kentucky. We understand that this isn’t possible when eating and drinking, but when moving throughout the amphitheater and watching the performance all guests are required to wear a mask.
SANITIZING: Parks benches will be sanitized prior to the performance and hand sanitizer stations will be available in the amphitheater.
SEATING: Some benches and other areas will be blocked off to allow for distancing. Please sit only in designated, distanced areas: available benches, picnic tables, and designated/marked grass areas. We invite you to bring a blanket in case you are in one of the designated lawn seating areas.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: When moving throughout the amphitheater, visiting the restroom, food trucks, bar, or gift table, please wear your mask and follow all social distancing signage and maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet apart from other guests.
STAFF AND CAST: Kentucky Shakespeare’s staff and cast members will have received a COVID-19 vaccination and we continue to monitor the health of our staff. We ask that our guests also remain diligent in self-care, including hand washing and monitoring their health.
In the event of lightning without rain, stage lights may be shut down and work lights turned on until lightning has ceased. In the event of rain, we will hold for a 15 minute rain delay. After the rain delay, Festival staff will make the decision whether or not to continue the production.
In the event of severe or threatening weather, the audience will be informed of any warnings that exist over the house microphone. If severe weather is close to the area, everyone will be instructed to exit the park immediately.
For your safety, please leave the amphitheater in a calm and orderly manner using the sidewalks.
There is street parking available surrounding the park on Fourth Street, Magnolia, Sixth Street, and Park. Please do not park in front of any of the bus stop signs, or you may be ticketed or towed. There are a limited number of accessible spots in the parking lot behind the information center. Enter via sidewalk by the police substation or north by the tennis courts.
Kentucky Shakespeare offers Brown-Forman products, Fetzer wines, and West Six Brewing for sale at the rear of the amphitheater in Will's Tavern. Cash, check, and major credit cards accepted. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be brought in or taken out of the amphitheater designated perimeter. Please enjoy your beverages responsibly inside the amphitheater perimeter.
Please take a moment to visit the Food Trucks at the rear of the amphitheater provided by the Louisville Food Truck Association. Various food trucks will be in the park nightly from 6:30PM until just after intermission. Cash and credit cards are accepted. The Association generously donates a portion of proceeds to Kentucky Shakespeare. Check our website and app daily for rotating food truck schedule. You're also welcome to bring your own picnic too (no outside alcohol is permitted.)
Food trucks will be positioned outside the performance seating/viewing area to allow for spacing and ample grass space for distanced lines. Louisville Food Truck Association operates trucks independently in Central Park and will continue to consult all relevant local, state and national resources for up-to-date best practices on food handling during the outbreak including the Food and Drug Administration, National Restaurant Association, and Kentucky COVID-19 information site.
The following guidelines/brief outline will be followed by food trucks, in addition to consulting the above resources.
• All food is packaged in individual serve containers.
• Any self-serve food and beverage options removed.
• A PIC (Person in Charge) is on the food truck to maintain sanitation standards.
• Masks are worn by food truck personnel.
• Gloves are worn by food truck personnel.
• Food truck personnel will enforce social distancing to the extent possible, with assistance from
Kentucky Shakespeare staff
• Food only served by properly trained, licensed food truck employees.
• 100% single use utensils, cups, napkins, menus, etc.
• In addition to regular sanitation procedures, all high touch surfaces sanitized multiple times
• All staff provided with all necessary PPE, to include masks, hand sanitizer stations, and gloves.
• Sneeze guards or other barriers between staff and guests at counter or service areas.
We have bench seating in the amphitheater. We also have open area in the front, rear, and sides of the amphitheater for guests to bring their own chairs and/or blankets. With social distancing requirements, it is encouraged to bring a blanket and/or chair if needed, as bench seating may fill quickly. There are also picnic tables in the rear of the amphitheater. All seats are free and all seats are first come, first serve.
Food trucks and our Will's Tavern open at 6:30PM nightly. Kid's Globe tent with free, interactive arts activities for youth is open 7:00-8:00PM. Will's Tavern opens at 7:00PM. Community pre-show performances begin nightly at 7:15PM, with the main stage performance beginning at 8:00PM. (Due to COVID-19, we are still working on making the determination about pre-show performances in 2021.)
There will be an intermission at approximately 9:00PM. Most performances finish between 10:00PM and 10:30PM. For specific show run times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the performance, the taking of video and flash photography are prohibited, however, you are welcome to take photos during the first half of the performance. If you post them, be sure to tag Kentucky Shakespeare.
Most of the productions in the park will be between 2 and 2 1/2 hours including a 15-20 minute intermission. Check with the House Manager, office, or email@example.com for exact running times of productions.
Accessible ramps, parking, restrooms, and wheelchair seating are available for patrons with disabilities. Large format programs are available upon request at the Kentucky Shakespeare information booth.
Open Captioning: Caption Theatre is provided for select performances TBA for patrons who have hearing loss and may not benefit from hearing amplification. The audible elements are shown on an LED sign, in real time, as each line is spoken.
Audio-Described Performances: TBA performances are audio described for patrons who are blind or have low vision. To reserve this service in advance, please call Director of Operations Robert Silverthorn, III at least two weeks in advance at 502.574.9900 or email Rob@kyshakespeare.com
Sensory Tours: Pre-show sensory/touch tours for the visually impaired are available during the summer. Contact Director of Education Kyle Ware for more information at 502.574.9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For your convenience, handicapped accessible restrooms are located at the rear of the amphitheater. Public restroom facilities are maintained by Metro Parks. Women’s restrooms are located on the north side of the building, adjacent to Will’s Tavern. Men’s restrooms are location on the south side of the building, facing the police substation.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park is a family-friendly event for all ages. For specific show content, see below or contact the office at 502.574.9900 or email@example.com. (Our late-night 10:30PM production of the Louisville Improvisors LATE NIGHT SHAKES is intended for mature audiences only.)
If we were rating the productions, they would be PG.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is a fanciful and fictional imagining of Shakespeare’s life. Although sexuality and attraction remain integral themes in the play, our production will not contain nudity or the level of sexuality that the film had. Through special permission from Concord Theatricals, we have been permitted to remove curse words from the production, making the script similar to the version of the script made available for high school productions. As in Shakespeare, the play does include innuendo and sometimes bawdy humor.
Please take a moment to visit our gift shop at the rear of the amphitheater. Cash, check, and major credit cards accepted. For more information, contact us at 502.574.9900. For more information, contact us at 502.574.9900.
Kentucky Shakespeare's stage is available for rental for private parties, weddings, presentations, and special events. All rentals go through the Louisville Metro permitting process and must provide a certificate of liability. Contact Director of Operations Robert Silverthorn for information - 502.574.9900, ex. 11, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louisville's Fourth Division Police Substation is located on the premises in Central Park, behind the Old Louisville Information Center. In addition, Kentucky Shakespeare hires security personnel to be onsite nightly from 7:00-11:00PM. Please see the Kentucky Shakespeare House Manager, Stage Manager, or Producing Artistic Director in the park with any questions.
There are no tickets and there is no cost for admission! Kentucky Shakespeare receives funding from many sources to provide this professional experience at no cost to you. During intermission, actors will pass throughout the amphitheater collecting donations to help support Kentucky Shakespeare. Donations may also be made via credit card at Will's Gift Shop and at kyshakespeare.com/donate.
Pets are welcome! We just ask that you clean up after your pet, and make sure your pet is on a leash. As a courtesy to audience members, we ask that you sit in the back picnic tables or in designated side or back grass areas.