The recent release of my book, The Bard and the Bible, has supplied me with even more reasons than usual to indulge my fascination (or, as my therapist wife says, obsession) with all things Shakespeare. So I thought I’d take a moment in this space to reflect on the many places I have been privileged to see the Bard’s plays acted. So here is a quick, updated list:
Belgrade Studio, Coventry, England
Dating back to 1995 (yes, I can remember back that far), the Belgrade Studio in Coventry, England (above), was the venue for my first (I think, maybe?) live theater Shakespeare experience: Twelfth Night, with the lovely Robin, Aaron, Aubrey, and our dear friend Nigel.
Atlantic Theater Festival, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
The lovely Robin and I saw Twelfth Night again at the Atlantic Theater Festival (above) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (where I also spoke to several hundred youth-type people over several days). Sadly, this theater closed after the 2007 season. Probably because I never made it back.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
Over the years, the lovely Robin and I have enjoyed many wonderful productions and memorable adaptations at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company: oh, let’s see, Richard II, Hamlet, Much Ado, As You Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Macbeth, King John, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, and more. We were subscribers for many seasons, and hope to be so again, when the budget permits (and we are very excited that this company will be opening a new, state-of-the-art theater in Over-the-Rhine next summer).
Shakespeare Tavern, Atlanta, Georgia
It wasn’t Shakespeare’s script, but we had a blast seeing The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia, a few years back. Hilarious.
Vinoklet Winery, Cincinnati, Ohio
We’ve also seen numerous Cincinnati Shakespeare Company productions in the outdoor amphitheater at Vinoklet Winery, in Colerain Township. The above was the 20014 production (I think) of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which we were thrilled to share with my brother and sister-in-law, Don and Arvilla.
Belasco Theater, New York, New York
An unbelievable joy and thrill was the Tony-winning Broadway production of Twelfth Night in New York City in 2014, with our brother Rick and brother-in-law Glenn. Incredible!
Seasongood Pavilion, Cincinnati, Ohio
Another venue for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company‘s Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions has been Eden Park’s Seasongood Pavilion, which is a great spot. I think we’ve seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth there.
MLK Park Amphitheater, Oxford, Ohio
In 2015, I got to see my first Cincinnati Shakespeare Company‘s Shakespeare-in-the-Park production in Oxford at the Martin Luther King Jr. uptown park. Romeo and Juliet showed up too.
Central Park, Louisville, Kentucky
A new venue for me was the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival‘s Bard-a-Thon in Louisville’s Central Park, which I attended with my old (and I do mean old) friend, Bill Riley, this past July. Attendees were prohibited from taking photos of the performance, and I am a rule-follower (some of the time), so I don’t have any pictures of the plays, but the venue (above) was comfortable; although the temperatures were in the nineties, Bill and I sat in a shaded spot, and even made new friends! We enjoyed the 4:30 performance of The Winter’s Tale and the 7:30 performance of Two Gentlemen of Verona, both of which were ably performed by a versatile cast (which was displayed especially in the second play, an adaptation set in 1919, complete with musical numbers drawn from that period). Delightful!
The Arts Center at Dunham, Cincinnati, Ohio
Completing the list (so far) was a Shakespeare in the Park performance of Romeo and Juliet (and Part 2 of my official book launch for The Bard and the Bible) at The Arts Center at Dunham, in Westwood on the west side of Cincinnati. Though it was a very hot day, the Arts Center staff could not have been more hospitable, and the event went well, from first love to dying gasp. And, since I was accompanied by the lovely Robin, love was in the air.
So that’s ten different Shakespeare venues–so far. Next season I fully intend to repeat a couple of these experiences and add the young Richmond (IN) Shakespeare Festival to my list. I also have high hopes of someday getting to the Globe in London (which we just missed on our 1995 England trip), the Blackfriars Theater of the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia, and the Stratford Festival in Toronto. Accepting donations now.