To be in Nashville, or not to be, this is the question many will ponder and hopefully answer in the positive when the city’s 20th Annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival takes to the Centennial Park Bandshell in August. From August 16 through September 9, fans of the Bard and live theater can enjoy two of Shakespeare’s best known comedies while relaxing under the stars.
This year, the company will present a unique interpretation of The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy of paybacks concerning classic character Falstaff’s determination to court two women for money, only to discover he is the one to be deceived. Wives will be staged to a contemporary Mardi Gras theme and will star Actors’ Equity members Thomas Ward as Falstaff, Rona Carter as Mistress Ford, Nan Gurley as Mistress Quickly, and members of the NSF Apprentice Company.
Also scheduled this summer is Two Gentlemen of Verona, believed to have been one of the Bard’s earliest works, the story of Valentine and Proteus and their adventures in love and war. Sam Spanjian stars as Valentine and Steven Berryessa as Proteus in this production, which showcases entirely the members of the Apprentice Company.
The Nashville Shakespeare Festival was established in 1988 for the purpose of enriching the population of Middle Tennessee with bold and unique interpretations of Shakespearean works. Since its first production, As You Like It, the NSF has grown into one of the leading professional theater groups in the region, averaging an audience of ten to twelve thousand patrons annually. Through volunteers and donations, the NSF continues to educate and entertain the city with their creative productions of these classic plays.
Schedule (Please visit the official site of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival for changes)
The Merry Wives of Windsor: August 16-19, 25-26, 30, 31; September 3, 8-9
Two Gentlemen of Verona: August 23-24; September 1-2, 6-7
Curtain for all shows rises at 7:30PM, pre-show entertainment begins an hour prior. Admission is free to the public, and donations to the support the Nashville Shakespeare Festival are gratefully accepted. It is advised to arrive one hour before curtain for optimum seating.
Blankets and lawn chairs are permitted, bench and bleacher seating and handicap access is also available. Coolers and picnic baskets are permitted, and food and beverages are available for sale at the park. Vendors open for business at 6PM.
Centennial Park is located at 2598 West End Ave Nashville, TN 37203, US. See website for driving directions.
The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is always looking for volunteers to assist with various duties before, during, and after performances. Volunteer pre-show entertainment acts are also considered. Please visit the website of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival for more information.