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Current Season

25th Season Coming Soon!!

Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival's 25th Anniversary Season A Silver Coronation: The Grand Valley Shakespeare Effect is coming this fall.

This special season will be filled with many exciting events and celebrations. Please continue to watch this site for updates and further details. 

Below are some of the events we have planned. 


King Lear

Our Mainstage production, as voted by our audience in 2016 

Directed by Karen Libman

September 28-October 7 

Teachers Special Student Matinees Oct 1, 2, and 4. Click for more information and registration

Sign Language Interpretation available

Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Conference

The biannual Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Conference: Pedagogy and Performance will be held this fall with its special 25th anniversary theme, “My Crown is in My Heart, Not on My Head” –3 Henry VI 3.1.

Conference details can be found at the conference site at http://www.gvsu.edu/shakesconference/ 

The conference will feature Keynote speaker Michael LoMonico,  the Senior Consultant on National Education for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. He will also be the Resident Shakespeare Scholar. His Keynote address to the conference on Friday, September 28 will be free and open to the public. He will also be giving a teaching workshop open to those who register for the conference, and he will also be visiting select Grand Valley classes while he is here. 

Michael LoMonico

2018 Resident Scholar
and Conference Keynote
Michael LoMonico of the Folger Library

Purchase Your Tickets Here!

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Bard To Go 2018

Bard to Go returns with a new production. Details are still being finalized, but the production will be a condensed version of a single production, one that our secondary school audiences will recognize. 

Secondary School tour
October 12, 19, 26 and November 2

Free Public Performance. November 3, Loosemore Auditorium, Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 

Schools: Click Here for School Performance Information and scheduling

Alumni Production of a NEW PLAY!!

As a new event to celebrate 25 years of the Shakespeare Festival, we welcome back alumni from our seasons. Alumnus Scott Watson is finishing a new play, titled Defy the Stars, which will be performed as part of the 25th season. The play follows two actors being held at the Westerbork Transit Camp in the Netherlands in July 1942. In order to save themselves and others from deportation to Auschwitz, these actors stage a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Watson graduated from Grand Valley in 2009 with a B.A. in theatre and currently works as an actor and playwright in New York City.

Currently, the festival is awaiting word on grant funding to facilitate a fully-mounted production. If that is the case, the production will feature alumni director, designers, full production staff, and cast. If the funding is not obtained, their will instead be a staged reading of the play featuring alumni director and actors. Watch here for developments. Interested alumni should watch here and on our Facebook site for details and can email Katherine Mayberry at maybekat@gvsu.edu.

We will also host a special Alumni Picnic for all festival alumni on Sunday, October 7 at the Grand Ravines Lodge of the Grand Ravines Park, just south of the Grand Valley Allendale Campus. Details to follow. 

Festival Greenshow

Festival Greenshow

Our Festival Greenshow will be cast in September and will feature a new production that will perform for Family Weekend and the Grand Valley Renaissance Faire as well as at the Festival Conference and a public performance on Thursday, October 4. Details and audition information to follow. 

Newsletter Cover Image

2017-18 Annual Newsletter

Newsletter Now Available

The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival annual Newsletter has been printed and distributed. It is available here as a PDF to download and enjoy. 


Remembering Jacob Owen Jager, Jake

With heavy hearts, we say goodbye to one of our own, Jake Jager, who passed away on March 3, 2018. Jake has been a pillar of our theatre program since beginning at Grand Valley in fall 2013. He happily stepped onto our stage into a role in Much Ado About Nothing to fill a role in need of an actor. Once on the stage, he was rarely off. As one of our most prolific performers, it is most fitting that Jake helped christen the new Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre playing the Emcee in Cabaret. Beyond the boards, Jake was also a leader in the classroom and among the students. He was an active part of Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society, serving in a variety of roles for the Grand Valley Chapter, including as president. At times in fall 2017 it took all he had to take the stage as one of the Ariel's in Tempest and to sing "Wilkomen" in Cabaret, but that's what he loved and where he shined as a brilliant shooting star. 

Jake Jager

JULY 6, 1994 ~ MARCH 3, 2018

                              My Ariel, chick,
That is thy charge: then to the elements
Be free, and fare thou well! 

Bio from The Tempest program. 
Jake Jager (Ariel 1) is a senior theatre major with minors in music and advertising and public relations. He is also a Shakespeare Scholarship recipient and Secretary and past President of APO. He has appeared previously at Grand Valley as Launce, Autolycus, Jaques in Bard to Go: Witty fools and Foolish Wits, Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, and Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing, all for the Shakespeare Festival, Tobias in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, David in Company, and Dad in Sex and the Supernatural. He has also appeared as Ruben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sancho in The Man of La Mancha for Shadblow Theatre. In addition, he served as promotions and sponsorship for Beauty and the Beast, Noises Off, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Shadblow Theatre where he also serves as an Advisory board member from 2016 season - present.

Jake Jager as Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing

Antonio in 2013 Much Ado About Nothing

Jake Jager as Dromio of Syracuse

Dromio of Syracuse in
2014 The Comedy of Errors.
Jake received the Irene Ryan Nomination from KC/ACTF for his performance. 

Jake Jager as Aulolycus

Autolycus in Bard to Go:Witty Fools and Foolish Wits 2015

Jake Jager as Airel in The Tempest

Ariel in 2017 The Tempest

Shakespeare Festival 20th Reception

Jake at the opening night reception of the 2013 Production of Much Ado About Nothing, the festival's 20th season production. Jake was the first student actor in a festival production who was younger than the festival itself. 

Jake Jager as the Emcee in Cabaret

Emcee in 2017 Cabaret, the inaugural production in the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre.

Jake Graduation with faculty

Jake Jager graduation with President Haas

Jake graduated from Grand Valley in a special ceremony in February 2018 in the Keller Black Box, fittingly onstage, where he always gave his best. 

Jake Jager graduation with students

Donations to recognize Jake’s life and legacy may be made to the Jake Jager Memorial Scholarship at GVSU; the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (PORT) at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to support those that provided him care over the past six years; or to spread happiness, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of West Michigan who made a dream of his come true.

Visit Theatre at Grand Valley Site to view 2017-2018 Season

Visit the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance Website

Visit the English Department Site

Member: Shakespeare Theatre Association, Theatre Alliance of Michigan. All shows are associate entries in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival  


5% of ticket revenue to be donated to Red Cross

Hurricane Relief

During rehearsals and development for The Tempest, the U.S. and islands of the Caribbean were struck by the powerful hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. As a festival, we were struck by the vivid reality of such storms, and we could not perform a play called The Tempest without acknowledging these storms and the devastation, suffering, and grief they brought. In response, the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival donated 5 percent of all ticket revenue from The Tempest to the Red Cross for hurricane relief.

Page last modified April 24, 2018