Bard To Go

GV Shakespeare Festival's Traveling Show

2018 - 2019 Bard To Go: Twelfth Night

The Bard To Go: Twelfth Night, our traveling Shakespeare show, has a full appearance schedule!

Bard to Go returns with an all-new production this fall. Bard to Go will present a 50-minute version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for its 2018 schools tour. Featuring 6 actors playing multiple roles, this fast-paced, lively production will present students with one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. After surviving a shipwreck, young noblewoman Viola disguises herself as a boy and becomes a servant to Duke Orsino. Orsino tasks his new servant with carrying his love letters to the beautiful Countess Olivia. Hilarity ensues when Olivia falls in love with the servant, not realizing the object of her affections is really Viola in disguise.

Bard to Go will be Touring Michigan secondary schools in October and November, but the production will also perform special  public performances. Bard to Go will perform at the biannual Shakespeare Festival Conference: Pedagogy and Performance. Additionally, Bard to Go will offer a free final public performance on November 3 at Loosemore Auditorium at the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. This final performance is always a popular crowd-pleaser most appropriate for middle school ages or above.

Bard to Go is part of the educational outreach programs incorporated into the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival.  Last year's production Bard to Go: The Wonder of Will: This Is Your Afterlife! performed at eight regional schools to approximately 1,400 students.  Additionally, Bard to Go traveled to the to the Bahamas, performing as part of the Shakespeare in Paradise Festival.. 

Over the past seasons, Bard to Go has been traveling all over the world to perform including to the Dominican Republic in winter, 2017, Madison, Wisconsin in 2015, Rapallo, Italy and Prague, Czech Republic where they participated at Shakespeare Prague during Spring Break in 2014. the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia in 2013 and Fall 2014 , the Bahamas to the Shakespeare in Paradise festival in Nassau in 2012, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 2010, to Italy in 2009, to China in 2008, and to Jamaica in 2006. Come see the production that has been traveling the world.

This season,  Bard to Go will be performing for area secondary schools, in October and November. Here are the scheduled public appearances:

Saturday, September 29 at noon and 1:00pm at ArtPrize outside the downtown Eberhard Center

Saturday, October 6 at noon and 1:00pm at ArtPrize outside the downtown Eberhard Center

Wednesday, October 10 at 1:00pm in the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre in the Haas Center for Performing Arts on the Allendale Campus

Bard To Go's final public performance will be November 3, 2018, at the Loosemore Auditorium, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus, on Saturday, November 3 at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free!


Bard To Go 2018: Twelfth Night

Bard To Go

The Cast

Christa Wright

Quiana Flynn

Ryann Patten

Jacob Miller

Justin Helou

Henry Morris

The Tour

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

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

Bard To Go 2017 - 2018

Our Touring Bard To Go 2017: 


Directed by Karen Libman

What happens when The Bard himself, William Shakespeare, is brought back to life and taken on a rollicking ride through his most famous plays? Eight plays in 50 minutes — but will Will remember that he truly is the most famous English language playwright in the world? Featuring scenes from Hamlet, Richard III, A Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and The Merchant of Venice.

Free public performances

During ArtPrize Nine (September 20–October 8) September 30 and October 1 at Gerald R. Ford Museum @ 10:00 a.m., October 4, 5 & 6 at the Loosemore Auditorium, GVSU Pew Campus, at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

Bard To Go: This Is Your Afterlife!

Bard Troupe

Posted on November 16, 2017

Following a performance at a school in the Bahamas by Grand Valley’s traveling Shakespeare troupe, Bard to Go, a young student walked up to the six members of the cast and said, “You guys inspired me to want to read more Shakespeare.” The student then proceeded to hug every member of the ensemble.

“It was a really special moment and reflected what we’re trying to accomplish by traveling to schools in the U.S. and around the world,” said Ariana Martineau, a senior majoring in history and education. “The point of our show is to educate and excite people about Shakespeare and help them realize how fun his works can be.”

Bard to Go recently traveled to the Bahamas in October to perform at the annual Shakespeare in Paradise Festival in Nassau, and at several local grade schools. Bard to Go was the only international group invited to perform at the festival this year.

During the festival, students performed their 50-minute 2017 Shakespeare Festival show, titled “The Wonder of Will: This Is Your Afterlife!” The play asks what would happen if the Bard was brought back to life and taken on an adventure through his most famous plays. It includes scenes from “Hamlet,” “Richard III,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth” and “The Merchant of Venice.”

Karen Libman, professor of theater and Bard to Go founder, said performing in the Bahamas exposed her students to audience members who are more responsive and vocal than those in the U.S.

“Bahamian audiences cheer and laugh, and they’re really much more viscerally involved than American students who are told to stay in their seats and not make any noise,” explained Libman. “It’s an actor’s dream to get this kind of response, so it was wonderful for our students to experience that.”

“Talk backs” occurred following every performance, giving audience members the opportunity to ask Grand Valley’s students a variety of questions, from the logistics of memorizing lines to favorite Shakespeare plays. Libman said “talk backs” are an intrinsic part of each show.

“In the U.S., the 'talk backs' act as a recruiting and outreach tool, but when we do international programs, they are much more like a cultural diplomacy through the arts,” she explained. “Shakespeare is really cultural currency, and in any country where English is taught or learned, Shakespeare is a part of that education.”

While students were at the festival, they also experienced other performances and events. Libman said she enjoys bringing students abroad because they get to dive into the local cultures. For example, Bard to Go students participated in an International Day, which exposed them to the different cultures of the people who live in the Bahamas.

Libman added that Bard to Go utilizes the works of Shakespeare to create relationships with people all over the world.

"We are sharing our American take on Shakespeare with students and audiences in other countries as a way of being cultural diplomats and as a way of introducing ourselves through the universal language of theater," she said. “That’s certainly something that is important for our students as they go into a future of working and living in a global society." 

Traveling and performing internationally is typically a bi-annual experience for students who participate in Bard to Go. The troupe’s first trip was to Jamaica in 2004. Since then, Bard to Go has performed in Italy, China, Canada and the Czech Republic.

In May, Bard to Go students added a Dominican Republic stamp to their passports. The group performed a 45-minute version of “Macbeth” five times at three different schools in Santo Domingo.

During the annual Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival, Michigan’s oldest and largest Shakespeare festival, Bard to Go performs at various secondary schools throughout the state. The troupe additionally performs as an official entry at ArtPrize, the world’s largest open international art competition.

Libman said that Bard to Go, which began in 2001, serves as a method for exposing students to the works of Shakespeare whose schools may not be able to afford bringing students to Grand Valley to watch the Shakespeare Festival’s main stage production each year.

“One of the things that we notice when we perform Shakespeare is that his work really is a foreign language to our students in the United States,” Libman explained. “They are not used to hearing Shakespeare, and a lot of times, when you ask them about Shakespeare, they say they hate reading it, but then they see it live and they are transformed.”

For More Information Contact: Matthew Makowski in University Communications - (616) 331-2228

2016 - 2017 Bard To Go

Bard To Go:  Macbeth

A 45-minute, condensed version of Macbeth makes Shakespeare accessible to younger audiences. Students experience the plot and language in a fast-paced performance, while exploring the themes and implications of the rise and fall of Macbeth as they relate to our globalized society and our potential future.

Performances are free:

October 12 at 1pm in the Mary Pew Idema Library's Multipurpose Room, down stairs

October 29 at 1pm, Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus


Caleb Baird

Sara Gochenaur

Evan Etzel

Quiana Flynn

Sam Luken

Bruno Streck-Rodrigues

Bard To Go: Macbeth

Bard To Go: Macbeth

Read an article on Bard To Go: Macbeth in GVSU's Lanthorn

Bard To Go: Witty Fools, Foolish Wits



“Witty Fools and Foolish Wits”

Mara Spears

Dezarae Begay

Mallory Caillaud-Jones

Jake Jager

Seth Burton

Dan Hummel

Stage manager / understudy – Emily Wisniewski

Directed by Dr. Alli Metz and Katherine Mayberry

Bard To Go


Bard To Go 2014 - 2015: Lights, Camera, Action!

Bard To Go 2014 - 2015: Lights, Camera, Action!

To see more about our 2014 - 2015 Bard To Go: Lights, Camera, Action! please click on the photo!

Bard To Go Shakespeare Logo

For more details and information about our 2014 Bard To Go Troupe, please click on the icon!

During ArtPrize, Bard To Go will perform assorted scenes from the 2014 production “Lights, Camera, Action!” at Art Prize.

Bard To Go

Student Competition Awards Ceremony and
Free Public Bard to Go Performance

November 7, 2015

1 PM Loosemore Auditorium

Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

The awards ceremony is followed by a Bard to Go performance  and a reception. Bard to Go is always a crowd pleaser and admission is free.


Bard To Go - March 2014 traveling to Genova, Italy and Prague, Czech Republic!

Bard To Go Travels Abroad!

Director Kiara Pipino, Assistant Director, Theatre alumnus Jason James Flannery.

Posted on April 03, 2014

Grand Valley’s Shakespeare Festival touring company, Bard To Go, has been touring regionally and internationally each year since 1998. This year, over semester break, BTG students were invited to present six performances at the Festival Valle Christi in Rapallo, Italy, and in the Czech Republic at the Prague Shakespeare Festival.

Each fall the ensemble also visits 8 high schools throughout Michigan, performing a 45-minute collage of Shakespearean scenes organized around a different theme, such as magic, love, or revenge. Every other year, BTG accepts invitations from international groups. Over the years, the company has performed in China, Canada, Italy, the Bahamas and other locations. The recent international trip to Rapallo and Prague was organized by this year’s BTG director, visiting professor Chiara Pipino, and Roger Ellis, founding director of Grand Valley’s Shakespeare Festival.

BTG students are chosen every year by audition from Grand Valley’s entire student population. This year’s troupe consisted of students majoring in writing, business, anthropology, and public relations, as well as theatre. All the housing and local transportation in Europe was provided by the hosting groups, and scholarship funding covered much of the group’s travel expenses. The tour also provided ample time for visiting historic venues and museums.   

“It was a challenging and amazing experience to take our show abroad,” said student Amanda Furstenberg. “I loved the opportunity to share my passion for theatre with the international audiences.”

For More Information Contact: in University Communications - 616-331-2221

Bard To Go Video

For The Love video

Our Bard To Go 45-minute traveling production will come to your school and perform for you! Designed to introduce students to Shakespeare, this show will highlight scenes from several plays. To explore the availability for our Bard To Go to visit your school, please contact Jack Lane at

Our Bard To Go traveled to Genova, Italy, and Prague, Czech Republic February 26 and returned March 7. 2014.

Prague Shakespeare Company shared a link.

Prague Shakespeare Company is proud to announce our next Prague performance: Bard To Go's Puzzle the Will - a special 50 minute performance of some of Shakespeare's greatest hits. Suitable for all ages. The show is courtesy our friends at Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA. Czech it out!

Bard To Go - Puzzle the Will

Bard To Go 2013-14

Bard To Go Video

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2014 Czech Republic & Italy

To View Our Bard To Go casts, please click on each photo.

Bard To Go 2013 - 2014

2013-14 Bard To Go

Bard To Go - 2012 - 2013

Bard To Go - 2012 - 2013

Bard To Go 2011 - 2012

2011 - 2012 Bard To Go

Bard To Go 2010 - 2011

Bard To Go 2010 - 2011

Bard To Go 2009 - 2010

Bard To Go - 2009 - 2010

Bard To Go in China

Click on the image to watch the video.

Bard To Go 2004

Bard To Go

Bard To Go

Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival's "Bard-to-Go" has brought scenes from some of Shakespeare's most famous works to thousands of students in Michigan schools. Now the program is headed for Europe.

As part of Grand Valley's annual Shakespeare Festival, Bard-to-Go is a 50-minute collage of scenes, chosen from various Shakespearean plays, to engage young audiences with the beauty, relevance and excitement of the Bard. This year's production, "Puzzle the Will" features excerpts from A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, and Hamlet. More than 1,600 area teens saw this production when it toured six area schools last fall.

Grand Valley student actors and professors have traveled to Jamaica, Nova Scotia, China, Bahamas, and this year they will travel to Italy and the Czech Republic. There they will perform high schools and other public Fine & Performing Arts facilities. The week-long trip will give the Grand Valley students the opportunity to experience touring in a foreign country and explore the theatrical universality of Shakespeare with another culture.

Page last modified October 17, 2018