Welcome to the 20th season
of the
Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival

Celebrations are in order for Michigan’s oldest Shakespeare Festival. Make your plans to join in as the Shakespeare Festival makes ado about much this year for our 20th season. This season the festival brings back many of our alumni to join in our events. We look forward to seeing many of our returning patrons and are anxious to welcome in newcomers as well. There is no better time to enjoy the Shakespeare Festival events.


After a season of war last year that brought Richard III to our festival stage and sent Bard to Go: All’s Fair . . . to area schools, the festival lightens things back up for our celebrations. In fact, for our mainstage this season, what could be more appropriate than to follow the wars of Richard with the ever popular Much Ado About Nothing. For in Much Ado, the war is over, the soldiers are coming back, and everyone is in a festive mood. The battles that follow are of wit rather than sword as the reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick take aim with words and “never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them.” Thank heavens “the world must be peopled” or Beatrice may never protest she loves Benedick, and he may never decide to “be horribly in love with her.” But as “some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps” the course of true love does not run smooth even for the willing lovers, Hero and Claudio. Much Ado abounds in misunderstandings and in purposeful deceits and snares that both compound and confound the love stories. Guest director and festival alum Katherine Mayberry brings Much Ado to life after playing Hero in the previous Festival production in 1998. The production also features Equity actor and festival newcomer Christopher Seiler as the bumbling constable Dogberry.

Bard to Go brings additional wit and wordplay with a new production this fall titled Puzzle the Will. Bard to Go will help christen the sparkling new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons with a preview performance on October 4 before embarking on their annual fall tour of area schools in October and the first of November. They will also perform in downtown Grand Rapids to conclude this season’s festival on November 2 along with the awards ceremony for the festival Student Competition. Kicking off the festivities this fall on September 27 will be the public presentation "The Five Keys to Understanding Shakespeare" by Resident Guest Scholar Jeff Watkins, the artistic director of the Atlanta Shakespeare Festival. The festival also welcomes the return of the Grand Valley Renaissance Faire, which will include performances by the Shakespeare Festival “Greenshow” production of The Arraignment of Paris.

Please browse this site to review all of the festival events. Make your plans to attend as much of the festival as your time permits, you’ll love it. We appreciate your attendance and your support and are interested in hearing from you. Please offer any feedback you would like to provide on our feedback page.



Page last modified September 10, 2013