Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival

Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival - 24th Annual Season

In our 24th season, the GV Shakespeare Festival is pleased to present The Tempest, September 29 - October 8, 2017.

Watch for more information to come on our individual performance schedule and our October 2, 3 & 5 middle/high school performances!

To go directly to our GV Shakespeare Festival website, please click here!

GV Shakespeare Festival - 23rd Anniversary

Measure for Measure

Courtesy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare . . . in three panels each by Mya L. Gosling.

Our 2016 Shakespeare production will be Measure for Measure! Please click here to go to our webpage.

Watch this page for more details on performance days, times, our touring Bard To Go show, the popular high school matinees, and other events surrounding the Festival!

Click here to visit our Shakespeare Homepage!

Accomplished scholar, writer, and educator Dr. Phyllis Rackin offers the 2016 Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Keynote Address.

Dr. Rackin's presentation, Measure for Measure: Then and Now, promises to be both an enjoyable and enlightening way to spend the afternoon. Her Address is also free and open to the public and a Festival Sponsored Event. LIB 100 and LIB 201 Approved.

Free Public Presentation
October 7.....................................4 p.m. Cook DeWitt Center,  Allendale Campus. Reception preceding the presentation, 3 p.m. 

LIB100 and LIB201 approved

And come and see our Greenshow's presentation The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher, Thursday, October 6 at 4:30pm by the Zumberge Pond and Oct. 7 at 3:15pm in Cook-DeWitt.

Cast members are:

Citizen - Ian Beek

Damsel - Alex Coy

Ralph - Clyde Declouet

Wife - Rachel Moore

Speaker of the Prologue - Henry Morris

Tim - Nick Shammas

Barbarosa - Griffin Sheridan

And our touring show, Bard To Go, will perform a free show at the Loosemore Auditorium on October 29 at 1pm! Admission is free! This replaces the November 5 performance cancelled due to conflicts!

23rd Shakespeare Festival

Measure for Measure

Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival’s presents

Measure for Measure

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Roger Ellis

September 30 - October 9, 2016

Shakespeare’s darkest comedy tackles the twin evils of power and corruption with outrageous humor, giving hope to the hopeless and courage to the powerless.

His city caught in a moral free-fall, the Duke of Vienna hands over power to Lord Angelo, who enforces long-dormant codes of chastity with zealous fervor.  When a pious young nun pleads for the life of her condemned brother, Angelo’s response is surprisingly sensual—revealing a web of desire, deception and hypocrisy that infects every corner of society.

September 30*, October 1*, 6** & 7 . . . . . . 7:30 p.m.        

October 2*, 8 & 9   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2:00 p.m.

October  3, 4 & 6  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10:00 a.m.***

*Great Laker Weekend                              

**Sign language interpretation available.

***High school performances only.

For tickets call the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office at 616-331-2300 or purchase them through Startickets at

Adults $14.00, Alumni/Seniors/Faculty/Staff $12.00, Students/groups $6.00

Tickets at the door are $1.00 additional. Tickets are all reserved seating.

*High and middle school performances are available to schools only. Tickets for students and chaperones are $2.50 and include the performance and a box lunch. For more information or questions, contact Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis and seating is limited in the Louis Armstrong Theatre so don't delay!

*Watch this site for more details on:

- Bard To Go: Macbeth touring performances to area high and middle schools\

- Guest Scholar-in-Residence and our bi-annual conference Keynote Speaker:  Phyllis Rankin

- Conference for teachers and Shakespeare scholars: Pedagogy & Performance, October 7 & 8:

- Our annual student Shakespeare competition awards November 5 at the Loosemore Auditorium

- Our Greenshow performances in conjunction with the Shakespeare Festival and Grand Valley's Renaissance Festival

GV Shakespeare Festival

Please plan on attending our bi-annual Shakespeare Festival Conference, October 7 - 9, 2016. More information forthcoming! Please click here to read more!

Please click here to visit the Conference webpage.

Click on our image to go to the Shakespeare Festival's website.

Conference attendees will receive a ticket to see Pigeon Creek's performance of The Tempest. The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, a touring company based in West Michigan, will present The Tempest as part of this year's Shakespeare Festival Conference.  Click here to see the poster!

The Tempest follows the adventures of Prospero, a powerful magician who was stranded on on island with his young daughter 12 years before the play's action begins.  When a ship carrying his enemies passes close to the island, Prospero uses his magic to shipwreck the passengers in the island with him.  Pigeon Creek's production was nominated for a Wilde Award (the awards for professional theatre in the state of Michigan) for best Shakespearean production in the 2015-2016 season, and actor Scott Lange was also nominated for his performance as Ariel, Prospero's magical spirit servant.  Sue Merrell, writing for Encore Michigan, says "Director Katherine Mayberry has created a masterful, fast-paced interpretation of Shakespeare’s final play."


2015 Shakespeare Festival's All's Well That Ends Well

GVSU Shakespeare Festival presents All's Well That Ends Well

Brian Russell Webb - Guest artist

2014 Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors - Fall 2014

The Comedy of Errors - Fall 2014 - Click on the image to see more photos!

April 2015 Shakespeare Festival Newsletter

Read the latest Shakespeare Festival newsletter by clicking here!

2013 Much Ado About Nothing

2013 Much Ado About Nothing

Christopher Seiler (Dogberry) and Matthew Fowler (Verges)

2012 Richard III

Richard III

Brian Webb Russell (Richard), Lauren Masud (Lady Anne), Kerissa Bradley (Citizen)

Twelfth Night 2011

Twelfth Night

Sarah Tryon as Viola

As You Like It - 2010

As You Like It - 2010

Click on the image to see more!

About Us

      We are a semi-professional Shakespeare Festival organized in Michigan and located on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, about twenty minutes west of Grand Rapids.  We've operated annually since 1993.  We are Michigan's oldest and largest Shakespeare Festival.

      More than 6,000 patrons attend our Festival activities each season, which include mainstage performances of the Bard's works, high school touring shows, workshops, new plays projects, symposia with visiting scholars, an all-campus student art competition, a Renaissance Festival, and other events. 

      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 are invited from around the nation and overseas who 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 (KC-ACTF).  And the Shakespeare Festival is an active member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA).   Faculty, staff and students regularly attend conferences, competitions, workshops and panels held by the SSTA and KC-ACTF.

The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is closely integrated with the University's training program in Theatre Arts.  Festival is organized by members of the University faculty and staff, who strive to involve their students with all aspects of Festival planning and operation: management, production, fundraising, public relations, acting, design, budgeting and other areas.  Each season the faculty and staff also strive to connect Festival activities to important areas of University life outside of dramatic arts: cinema, multicultural affairs, music, philanthropy and public service, alumni, dance, and communications, among others.

Past Productions:

1994 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1995 - Romeo and Juliet

1996 - Twelfth Night

1997 - As You Like It

1998 - Much Ado About Nothing

1999 - Macbeth

2000 - Comedy of Errors

2001 - The Tempest

2002 - The Merchant of Venice

2003 - King Henry IV, part one

2004 - Measure for Measure

2005 - Hamlet

2006 - Love’s Labour’s Lost

2007 - Cymbeline

2008 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream

2009 - Romeo and Juliet

2010 - As You Like It

2011 - Twelfth Night

2012 - Richard III

2013 -Much Ado About Nothing

2014 – Comedy of Errors

2015 - All's Well That Ends Well

2016 - Measure for Measure

2017 - The Tempest

Our Mission:  The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival explores and celebrates Shakespeare and his culture for the West Michigan community and beyond through theatre and education.

Click here to read our mission, vision, and values statement.

GV Shakespeare Festival Honorary Board

Shakespeare Board

New Shakespeare Festival Honorary Board Inaugurated

As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the GVSU Shakespeare Festival, the organizing committee appointed an Honorary Board comprised of some of West Michigan’s most ardent supporters of the arts and of community development.  Their aim will be to propel the Festival toward even greater excellence, to strengthen the connection of the Festival to the larger community, and to help the Festival extend its reach to new audiences.

The Board’s 11 members were invited to meet at a reception held before the opening night performance on Much Ado About Nothing.   Costumed students greeted the Board while members of the organizing committee treated them to the Cyril Lixenberg exhibit in the University Gallery as well as a pre-show talk by dramaturg Professor Jo Miller (English Department). 

Members of the Honorary Board are:

Betty Burton, Tim Cusack, Gilbert Davis, Patricia Davis, Shelley Irwin, Don Lubbers, Nancy Lubbers, Laura Salazar, Ruth Stegeman, Bruce Tinker, Wendy Wenner

The Shakespeare Festival organizing committee is excited to have this valuable additional human resource to provide insight and input to our planning and audience development activities.  Their service to the Shakespeare festival and GVSU twice blessed!


Theatre Links

2013 - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

Spotlights Import 12/20/13

Watch a GVSU Spotlight Video with Brynhild Weihe

Watch a GVSU Spotlight video with Theatre student, Brynhild Weihe - click here!

Katrina Niemisto

Katrina is currently starting her second season with The Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, a LORT B equity theatre. She works in the costume shop as a costume crafts artisan and in wardrobe running shows. (Soon, hopefully she'll be able to announce t

Amanda Janke

Amanda Janke graduated with a BA in theatre in 2008 and has enjoyed great success ever since. Amanda earned her MFA in Costume Design and Technology from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music-- one of the best MFA programs in the

'Bard To Go' visited to Nova Scotia

GVSU's international touring troupe, BARD TO GO, went to Nova Scotia, May 18 - 24, 2010. A seven-member team of Grand Valley theater professors, students, and alumni took the award-winning Bard to Go program to Nova Scotia. The touring program, which

Theatre Student Pursuing MFA in Dramaturgy

Nancee Moes (Magna Cum Laude, '09, Theatre) will begin pursuing her MFA in Dramaturgy at the State University of New York-Stony Brook this fall.

View More Spotlights Import 12/20/13

Page last modified January 26, 2017