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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.
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
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.
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!
Click on the following links to find more information about other GVSU opportunities:
ReACT! The Peer Theatre Group
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
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.
GVSU's traveling Shakespeare troupe performed before several hundred area high school students and participated in Shakespeare in Paradise in the Bahamas! We are working on a new date for the benefit performance of LOVESTRUCK! New date is April 16, 201
Scott Watson (BA Theatre 2009) relocated to New York City in 2009 to pursue acting and playwriting professionally. Arriving in NYC with thirty-five dollars in his pocket, Scott has since prospered in The Big Apple. Most recently, Scott appeared in New Yor