Summer Traditions: Kentucky's Summer Shakespeare Festival Returns
Longest Running Non-Ticketed Festival in the U.S.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 12, 2024) – Kentucky Shakespeare, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth, announces the 64th annual free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival May 29-August 11 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 Julius Caesar, plus a new production of Shakespeare in Dance: Lady Lear from the Louisville Ballet and the Late Night Shakes
Shakespearean improv comedy show from the Louisville Improvisors.
The Louisville Fringe Festival will present 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 60+ 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 2024 Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park:
Romeo & Juliet
May 29-June 16; July 17, 20, 23, 26
The season kicks off with the beloved, timeless tale of star-crossed lovers caught between two worlds. Romance leads to loss, then grace, in this beautiful and tragic love story.
The Comedy of Errors
June 20-30; July 16, 19, 24, 27
Laughter abounds in this madcap comedy - a farcical tale of long-lost siblings, mistaken identities, love at first sight, and happily-ever-afters.
July 5-14, 18, 21, 25, 28
Shakespeare’s final play is a testament to the redeeming power of love and forgiveness – featuring fools, spirits, monsters, shipwrecks, and magical spells.
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players
July 31-Aug 4
Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players present the beloved comedy with a cast comprised of students from multiple area high schools. The cast is comprised of students from multiple area high schools and the production is the culmination of a five-week training program.
Late Night Shakes
10:30pm on June 8, 29 and July 20
The Louisville Improvisors return for a ninth year with Late Night Shakes on select Saturdays bringing late-night improvised Shakespeare plays created from audience suggestions.
Shakespeare in Dance: Lady Lear
The final week of the summer season, Louisville Ballet returns to the Festival stage for an eighth season to present Shakespeare in Dance, a Shakespeare-inspired dance premiere.
GLOBE Arm Wrestling
Louisville Fringe Festival
June 15, July 13 and 27 at 10:15pm
Louisville Fringe Festival returns for a second season, presenting this hilarious late night show featuring Shakespeare characters and professional wrestling style antics, going arm-to-arm in this unique live theatrical event.
ASL interpretation will be provided for the following performances: Thursday, June 6 for Romeo and Juliet, Thursday, June 27 for The Comedy of Errors, Thursday, July 11 for The Tempest, and Thursday, August 1 for Globe Players production. (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.