Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park Returns, Longest Running Non-Ticketed Festival in the Country
The 63rd annual free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival will run May 24-August 6 in Old Louisville’s Central Park.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 2, 2023) – Kentucky Shakespeare, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth, announces the 63rd annual free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival May 24-August 6 at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Old Louisville’s Central Park.
All performances are presented free of charge at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, the longest-running non-ticketed Shakespeare festival in the United States.
"The eleven-week season features 62 performances, seven productions, all presented absolutely free to audience members,” said Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director.
In addition to the three main stage productions, Kentucky Shakespeare will present their Globe Players professional training program for high school students in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, plus a new production of Shakespeare in Dance from the Louisville Ballet (this year inspired by Macbeth), and the Late Night Shakes Shakespearean improv comedy show from the Louisville Improvisors.
New this year, the Louisville Fringe Festival will present three late-night performances of their GLOBE Arm Wrestling, featuring Shakespeare characters going arm-to-arm in a unique live theatrical experience.
The Kids’ Globe tent will open an hour before every performance during the summer with free interactive arts-based activities tied to the production, and various community pre-show groups will perform at 7:15pm nightly throughout the summer.
A variety of 36 food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association will rotate nightly, plus Will’s Tavern (a Brown-Forman Bar) and Will’s Gift Shop. Please visit kyshakespeare.com for more information and schedules.
6:00pm Food Trucks Open
7:00pm Will’s Tavern, Will’s Gift Shop, and Kids’ Globe open
7:15pm Community Pre-Show Performance
8:00pm Production Begins
The 2023 Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
May 24-June 11; July 12, 15, 18, 21
The season kicks off with Shakespeare’s magical, beguiling comedy following four young lovers and a bumbling band of players into an enchanted forest realm of fairies and moonlight revels.
By William Shakespeare
June 16-26; July 12, 15, 20, 23 (no performances on Mondays or Tuesdays in June)
Witches return to Central Park in this haunting and epic tale of blind ambition, unchecked greed, and twisted prophesy – a thrilling tragedy of historic proportions.
Love’s Labor’s Lost
By William Shakespeare
June 29-July 9; July 13, 16, 20, 23
Shakespeare’s early romantic comedy is a joyful celebration of love and a coming-of-age story of oaths made and broken, lovers lost and found, and the follies of the heart.
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players
The Two Gentleman of Verona
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players present the beloved comedy with a cast comprised of students from multiple area high schools.
Late Night Shakes
10:30pm on June 10, June 24, July 8, and July 22
The Louisville Improvisors return for an eighth year with Late Night Shakes on select Saturdays bringing late-night improvised Shakespeare plays created from audience suggestions.
Shakespeare in Dance: Macbeth
The final week of the summer season, Louisville Ballet returns to the Festival stage for a sixth season to present Shakespeare in Dance, a Shakespeare-inspired dance premiere based on Macbeth.
ASL interpretation will be provided for the following performances: Thursday, June 1 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Thursday, June 22 for Macbeth, and Thursday, July 6 for Love’s Labor’s Lost. (For all ASL scheduled performances, the makeup rain date will be the following evening.)
Make a visit to Louisville this summer to enjoy the city’s Old Louisville neighborhood offering additional attractions such as St James Court and the Speed Art Museum, the oldest, largest and foremost museum of art in Kentucky – with free admittance on Sundays.
Additional highlights include culinary delights such as Buck’s on Ormsby, an elegant dining experience with a bar reminiscent of an Old European style hotel as well as several bed & breakfast options offering authentic charm with cozy themed rooms. For fall visits, Old Louisville hosts the St. James Court Art Show which draws a crowd of 300,000 the first weekend of October to enjoy and buy art in a festival atmosphere.
Guests can use Louisville Tourism’s annual Visitor Guide to plan an itinerary around Louisville’s top experiences. Travelers also can get attraction, lodging and dining assistance at www.gotolouisville.com.