The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is an annual series of cultural, educational, and performing arts events held in the fall and operated and administered by Grand Valley State University. With its inaugural season in 1994, the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is the oldest Shakespeare Festival in Michigan and enters its 19th season in consecutive operation this fall. With a firm commitment to the arts and education, the Shakespeare Festival actively promotes and provides arts education that affects the Grand Valley community as well as the community of audience members, students, and teachers in Michigan and beyond.
Our productions are cast from a pool of students, community actors, and guest professionals; union artists are engaged under guest artist contracts administered by the Actors Equity Association. Our Festival company operates from mid-August through early November, producing public events starting in late September. By beginning our season in the late summer and early fall, we successfully merge quality productions with the academic life of the University community.
Our Festival maintains strong connections with national Shakespeare activity in several ways. Prominent Shakespeare practitioners conduct panels, offer public presentations of their work, and visit literature and production classes on our campus. Guest artists are nationally recruited through regional professional auditions. All productions are adjudicated by members of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Also, the Shakespeare Festival is an active member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). Faculty and staff members and students regularly attend conferences, competitions, workshops, and panels held by the STA and KCACTF.
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is closely integrated with the Universitys training program in theatre arts. The Festival is organized by members of the University faculty and staff who strive to involve students with all aspects of Festival planning and operation: management, production, fundraising, public relations, acting, design, budgeting, and other areas. Each season faculty and staff members also strive to connect Festival activities to important areas of University life outside of dramatic arts: cinema, multicultural affairs, music, philanthropic and public service, alumni, dance, and communications, among others.
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival explores and celebrates Shakespeare and his culture for the West Michigan community and beyond through theatre and education.
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is a creative environment for educational and artistic excellence for a diverse and growing population.