Top 10 U.S. Shakespeare Festivals In the East

    Top 10 U.S. Shakespeare Festivals In the East

     By Kimberly Dijkstra

    Though William Shakespeare is the quintessential English playwright, the United States is home to more Shakespeare festivals than even merry old England herself. The East Coast especially has a large concentration of Shakespeare companies and festivals that pay tribute to his many works. 

    From comedy to tragedy and everything in between, here are the top 10 Shakespeare festivals in the Eastern United States.


    The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre


    Founded in 1989 as The Red Heel Theatre, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre began focusing on the works of Shakespeare in 1996. Since then, the company has produced more than 50 plays and has been honored by the City Council of Philadelphia for its excellence in performance and educational programming.


    Alabama Shakespeare Festival


    One of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the world, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival attracts more than 300,000 patrons every year to its more than 400 annual performances. The festival has been a valued leader in the arts community since its founding in 1972. 


    Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

    Every year, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company produces pieces from Shakespeare’s canon, as well as more recent classics. Cincy Shakes, as it is affectionately known, considers its purpose to hold a mirror up to nature, foster empathy, and generate a dialog in the community. 


    Shakespeare Tavern — Atlanta Shakespeare Company 


    The Atlanta Shakespeare Company is special because it performs in the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, a theatre with a balcony and façade inspired by the original Globe Theatre, Only here in midtown Atlanta can theatregoers experience an ambiance similar to Elizabethan times while hearing the voice of Shakespeare speak through the ages.


    Orlando Shakespeare Theatre

    Producing classics, contemporary works, and children’s plays in Central Florida since 1989, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre is a widely acclaimed professional theatre in the region. Orlando Shakes showcases Shakespeare’s legacy in four theatre spaces, and outdoors at Loch Haven Park.


    Nashville Shakespeare Festival

    Educating and entertaining audiences in Tennessee, Nashville Shakespeare Festival presents bold and innovative productions of the Shakespearean canon each summer. Its free Shakespeare in the Park plays draw 10,000 to 15,000 viewers. Nashville Shakes also offers a Winter Shakespeare production and is passionately involved with outreach to the community through public schools and libraries. 


    Delaware Shakespeare

    During the summer months, Delaware Shakespeare celebrates the Bard at Rockwood Park in Wilmington. For 20 years, the professional theatre company has used the lens of Shakepeare’s works to explore our shared humanity, always infusing the experience with an element of joy.


    Shakespeare & Company


    A visit to brings you directly to the website of Shakespeare & Company, the vibrant theatre company based in the heart of the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Founded in 1978, the company has included a number of notable actors and reaches more than 75,000 patrons annually.


    New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane 

    This significant theatre company was founded in 1993 by faculty members of Tulane University. Producing professional, classical theatre, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane  mounts two or more Shakespearean productions each year and provides the region with entertainment and educational resources. 


    Shakespeare in the Park — The Public


    In your travels to the Big Apple, be sure to pay a visit to Central Park on a summer evening to catch the latest free production of a major Shakespearean work. Celebrating 60 seasons and more than 150 productions, Shakespeare in the Park is a beloved tradition for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

    There are so many wonderful Shakespeare festivals throughout the United States, Broadway & Main broke them down into regions. Click the links below to find the top Shakespeare Festivals near you!

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