SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT
Due to the continued effects of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our artists, staff, and community, Kentucky Shakespeare is postponing our 2020 summer season until summer 2021 with the same artistic, design, and production team, as availability allows.

In September, Kentucky Shakespeare presented a digital season offering from the 2020 summer company, filmed on the Central Park stage, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. The production is available for free viewing on our Facebook Page and YouTube channel.

47,000+ people experienced Kentucky Shakespeare’s Virtual Shakespeare in Central Park, with online viewings of past productions from the 2017-2019 seasons March 20-August 9, the originally scheduled closing date of the 2020 season.

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival plans to return with in-person programming in Central Park May 26-August 8, 2021 – with Shakespeare in Love presented by Churchill Downs, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, plus A Midsummer Night’s Dream from our Globe Players professional training program for high school students plus guest productions from Louisville Ballet and Louisville Improvisors.

 

STATEMENT FROM THE PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
It’s with a heavy heart that we share we will not be able to present an in-person 60th season of your Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, with too many obstacles to overcome. Please know that we did everything in our power to make it happen, but simply put, it is not worth the risk of our highest priority — our team and beloved audience members.

Even if we had been able to get to a place where we felt we could prepare and present the season safely from an artistic/production standpoint, with the anticipated government restrictions in Central Park, capacity would be extremely limited and pre-registration required. This is the antithesis of our mission, vision, and values of access and inclusion. It simply wouldn’t be your Festival.

We are incredibly grateful to our supporters and excited to still be able to hire our team in August to create a new virtual/digital offering celebrating Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, filmed on the Central Park stage with our summer company.

While we mourn the loss of this in-person season for 2020, it is kept in perspective as our city and nation grapple with the greater loss and pain experienced through systemic racism and racial injustice. This pause also allows us additional time to focus on this important work as a company.

We long for the opportunity to gather with our community again – to share art, tell more stories, connect, heal, and embrace our humanity through more magical evenings under the stars.

Rehearsals for your 2021 summer season begin in April, and we cannot wait to be together again in Central Park.

– Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director

  • 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
The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Directed by Matt Wallace

A Midsummer Night's Dream

presented by Kentucky Shakespeare's Globe Players

Shakespeare in Dance

presented by Louisville Ballet

Late Night Shakes

Improvised Shakespeare with the Louisville Improvisors

Season Schedule

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

May 26-July 24, 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

June 17-July 25, 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.

 

The Merry Wives of Windsor
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Wallace

July 1-23, 2021

Last performed on the Kentucky Shakespeare stage 30 years ago, this riotous Elizabethan comedy is a story of marriage, wealth, jealousy, and lies.

 

Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players
professional training program for high school students
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Directed by Kyle Ware

July 28-31, 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 4-8, 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 2019

Twelfth Night

July 25, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by The Globe Players. Food Trucks: Lexie Lu’s, Louisville Dessert Truck Pre Show: Dancensation Studios 

Find out more »

Twelfth Night

July 26, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by The Globe Players. Food Trucks: 502 Cafe, Louisville Dessert Truck Pre Show: Looking for Lilith: Girlspeak 

Find out more »

Twelfth Night

July 27, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by The Globe Players. Food Trucks: Germany #1, Louisville Dessert Truck Pre Show: Nevertheless Arts 

Find out more »

Romeo & Juliet

July 28, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Food Trucks: Celtic Pig,  Louisville Dessert Truck Pre Show: Looking for Lilith: Girlspeak 

Find out more »

Romeo & Juliet

July 30, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Food Trucks: 502 Cafe,  Louisville Dessert Truck Pre Show: Ambo Dance Theatre 

Find out more »

Cleopatra Queen of Kings

July 31, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Louisville Ballet. Food Trucks: Grecian Mama,  Louisville Dessert Truck Pre-Show Speaker: Roger Creel- producer

Find out more »
August 2019

Cleopatra Queen of Kings

August 1, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Louisville Ballet. Food Trucks: Lexie Lu's,  Louisville Dessert Truck Preshow: Louisville Ballet Outreach Group

Find out more »

Cleopatra Queen of Kings

August 2, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Louisville Ballet. Food Trucks: Atrium Kitchen, Hot Buns, and  Louisville Dessert Truck Preshow: Louisville Ballet School Junior Intensive

Find out more »

Cleopatra Queen of Kings

August 3, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Louisville Ballet. Food Trucks: Atrium Kitchen,  Louisville Dessert Truck Preshow: Louisville Ballet Summer Dance Camp

Find out more »

Cleopatra Queen of Kings

August 4, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Central Park, 1340 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40208 United States
Free

Presented by Louisville Ballet. Food Trucks: Grecian Mama,  Louisville Dessert Truck Preshow Talk: Alexandra Ludwig, costume designer & Brienne Wildste, Dancer- Cleopatra

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 & 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.

Parking Information

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.

6:30pm: Food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association open.
7pm: Bar opens with drinks from Brown-Forman and West Sixth Brewing.
7:15pm: Community Pre-Show Performance
8:00pm: Performance

An Evening with Kentucky Shakespeare

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 2020 summer company features 23 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 2020 Company – Bios here

Check out digital version of last summer’s 2019 playbill here!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 in the area, everyone must take shelter immediately. The police station is the closest and most secure place to be.

    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, 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.

  • 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 6:30PM 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.)

  • 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 bleachers and 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 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. 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. Large format programs are available upon request at the Kentucky Shakespeare information booth.

    Open Captioning: Caption Theatre is provided for select performances, June 4 for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (rain date June 5), June 25 for HENRY V (rain date June 26), and July 9 for THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (rain date July 10) 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: June 4 for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (rain date June 5), June 25 for HENRY V (rain date June 26), and July 9 for THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (rain date July 10) 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 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, please contact the office at 502.574.9900. (Our late-night 10:30PM production of the Louisville Improvisors LATE NIGHT SHAKES is intended for mature audiences only.)

  • 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. Contact Director of Operations Robert Silverthorn for information - 502.574.9900, ex. 11, rob@kyshakespeare.com.

  • Is there security?

    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 an off-duty police officer 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 for the 11-week, 7-production, 64-performance season! 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.

  • 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, bleachers, or side grass area.