About the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival

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 Venic

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 The Comedy of Errors
2015 All's Well that Ends Well
2016 Measure for Measure
2017 The Tempest
2018 King Lear
2019 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2022 The Merry Wives of Windsor

Mission, Vision and Values

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

The GV Shakespeare Festival is a creative environment for educational and artistic excellence for a diverse and growing population.


  • Shakespearean Tradition: Investigation of shared humanity.
  • Arts: performing, literary, visual, and scholarly.
    Excellence: professionalism, discipline, rigor, quality, hard work, aesthetics.
  • Learning: educating, outreach, and enrichment.
  • Collaboration: including vigorous participation of students, faculty from a variety of disciplines, professional artists, staff, community members, scholars. Intrinsic to theatre and bedrock of relationships. Sharing.
  • Enjoyment: providing a welcoming atmosphere to engage participation in fun and gratifying activities.
  • Future-thinking: maintaining a legacy of success and sound management.
  • Relevance: providing events and activities that are available and affordable to diverse populations.

Page last modified December 13, 2022