You take your seat just as the lights go down. The curtain rises, and all at once you are transported to a miraculous foreign land: The battlements of Elsinore castle. A beach in Illyria. A blasted heath in Scotland. A canal in Venice. A throne room in Sicilia, or Athens, or Egypt. A street in Rome, or Verona, or Ephesus, or anywhere in all the globe.
This is the Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s mission – to inspire and entertain diverse audiences with evocative, interesting, and epic productions of classical theatre’s greatest plays. The 2017 season features “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” and “The Seagull.”
Now entering its 23rd season, the festival has grown from one weekend to a six-week season during July and August. Since its inception, the summer festival has entertained more than 85,000 patrons.
The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a nonprofit professional theatre. Originally named the Jackson Shakespeare Festival, it started in 1995 as an outdoor summer event in Jackson’s beautiful Ella Sharp Park. A replica Globe was constructed in 1996, and audiences flocked to experience Shakespeare in Jackson.
New Artistic Director John Neville-Andrews changed the name to the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in 1998, reflecting the growing statewide poularity. Two years later the MSF added members of the Actor’s Equity Association, making the event a fully professional Shakespeare company.
As the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to producing world-class classical plays. Shakespeare’s plays survive and thrive because of his language, his expression of humanity’s light, darkness, and the foibles in-between. Under the guidance of award-winning Artistic Director Janice L. Blixt, the MSF brings that language to life before your eyes.