• FREE admission
  • Food & drinks available
  • Dogs are welcome

2021 Summer Season of Free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park

Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love

Directed by Matt Wallace; Presented by Churchill Downs
Henry V

Henry V

Directed by Amy Attaway
Midsummer, Dance, & Improv

Midsummer, Dance, & Improv

Globe Players, Louisville Ballet, and the Louisville Improvisors

Season Schedule

FULL SUMMER SEASON CALENDAR LINK HERE

DIGITAL VERSION OF PLAYBILL HERE

Nightly Schedule:
6:00 p.m. Food Trucks
7:00 p.m. Kids’ Globe, Will’s Gift Shop, & Will’s Tavern
8:00 p.m. performance

 

 

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!

Running time: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including intermission.

 

Henry V

By William Shakespeare
Edited by Gregory Maupin
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.

Running time: Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, including intermission.

 

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 5-week training program.

 

Louisville Improvisors

Late Night Shakes

10:30PM on June 26, July 24, and August 14

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.

Past Events › Shakespeare Festival in Central Park

Events List Navigation

July 2021

Henry V

July 24 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
+ Google Map
Free

The final chapter of our epic Game of Kings series Directed by Amy Attaway 6pm Food Trucks: Pollo, Grecian Mama 7pm Kids' Globe, Will's Gift Shop, and Will's Tavern 8pm Performance 10:30pm Late Night Shakes  

Find out more »

Late Night Shakes

July 24 @ 10:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
+ Google Map
Free

Late Night Improvised Shakespeare from the Louisville Improvisors - 10:30-11:00PM, immediately following Henry V.  

Find out more »

Shakespeare in Love

July 25 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
+ Google Map
Free

Adapted for the stage from the Oscar-winning screenplay Directed by Matt Wallace 6pm Food Trucks: Grecian Mama, Froggy's Popcorn 7pm Kids' Globe, Will's Gift Shop, and Will's Tavern 8pm Performance  

Find out more »

Shakespeare in Love

July 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
+ Google Map
Free

Adapted for the stage from the Oscar-winning screenplay Directed by Matt Wallace 6pm Food Trucks: Pollo, Addison's Treat Shop 7pm Kids' Globe, Will's Gift Shop, and Will's Tavern 8pm Performance  

Find out more »

Henry V

July 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
+ Google Map
Free

The final chapter of our epic Game of Kings series Directed by Amy Attaway 6pm Food Trucks: Fresh Out of the Box, Froggy's Popcorn 7pm Kids' Globe, Will's Gift Shop, and Will's Tavern 8pm Performance  

Find out more »
+ Export Events

 

Located in Central Park

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 Street & Magnolia Avenue. 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 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.

Parking Information

There is street parking available surrounding the park on Fourth Street, Magnolia Avenue, Sixth Street, and Park Avenue. 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.

6:00 p.m.: Food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association open.
7:00 p.m.: Bar opens with drinks from Brown-Forman and West Sixth Brewing.
8:00 p.m.: Performance

An Evening with Kentucky Shakespeare

 

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!

Meet the 2021 Company – Bios Here

Link to digital version of full Audience Program Guide/Playbill

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are your COVID-19 protocols and how will things be different this year?

    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. Friday and Saturdays are traditionally the most crowded nights. If you can, we invite you to consider another night to assist with spreading out audiences.

    SANITIZING: Hand sanitizer stations will be available in the amphitheater.

    STAFF AND CAST: Kentucky Shakespeare’s staff and cast members are all fully vaccinated 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.

  • What is your rain policy?

    PERFORMANCES WILL NOT BE CANCELED BEFORE 7:30 PM.

    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.

  • Where do I park?

    There is street parking available surrounding the park on Fourth Street, Magnolia Avenue, Sixth Street, and Park Avenue. 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.

  • Can we bring alcohol?

    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.

  • Is food available?

    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 6:00PM 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.)

  • Do I need to bring chairs?

    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. There are also picnic tables in the rear of the amphitheater. All seats are free and all seats are first come, first serve.

  • What time does the show start?

    Food trucks open at 6:00PM nightly. Kids' Globe tent with free, interactive arts activities for youth is open 7:00-8:00PM. Will's Tavern opens at 7:00PM. The main stage performance begins at 8:00PM. (Due to COVID-19, we will not be having community 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 info@kyshakespeare.com.

  • Can I take photos/video?

    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.

  • How long is the production?

    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 info@kyshakespeare.com for exact running times of productions.

  • Is the amphitheater accessible?

    Accessible ramps, parking, restrooms, and wheelchair seating are available for patrons with disabilities. Complimentary large format programs are available upon request at Will's Gift Shop.

    ASL Interpreted Performances: Shakespeare in Love on June 24 and Henry V on July 15.

    Open Captioning and Audio Description will return in 2022 when we can again partner with Kentucky Performing Arts Access Services.

    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 kyle@kyshakespeare.com.

  • Where are the restrooms?

    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.

  • Are the productions suitable for children?

    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 info@kyshakespeare.com. (Our late-night 10:30PM production of the Louisville Improvisors LATE NIGHT SHAKES is intended for mature audiences only.)

    Suitability/Content

    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.

  • Where can I buy a shirt?

    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.

  • Is the stage available for rental?

    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, rob@kyshakespeare.com.

  • Is there security?

    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.

  • What is the ticket cost?

    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, company members will collect donations to help support Kentucky Shakespeare. Donations may also be made via credit card at Will's Gift Shop, through Text to Give, and at kyshakespeare.com/donate.

  • What about pets?

    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.