2015 Shakespeare Guest Scholar
Ryan Producing Artistic Director,
Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival
Now in his nineteenth year as an artistic director and his third for the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF), Grant previously served as the Founding Artistic Director for the Richmond Shakespeare Festival (VA) at Agecroft Hall. Highlights there included helping to develop Richmond CenterStage, touring to 23 states and more than 200,000 people, and fourteen consecutive years playing Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol for Two Actors.
At Notre Dame, in 2013 Grant created a pilot touring program for regional schools, NDSF: ON TOUR, bringing Shakespeare performances and accompanying workshops to middle and secondary students throughout Northern Indiana, as well as the first-ever subscription season in NDSF history.
Grant’s directing and acting credits include more than 50 productions. As an actor, Grant’s performances include the title roles in Henry V and Macbeth, Warwick/Poins/Glendower and The Douglas in [The History Cycle], as well as Orsino in Twelfth Night, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Trinculo/Ferdinand in The Tempest, Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Orlando in As You Like It, and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.
A member of Notre Dame’s Film, Television, and Theatre faculty, Grant also serves on the Executive Committee of the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA), whose annual conference Shakespeare at Notre Dame will host in January of 2016.
Read the latest Shakespeare Festival newsletter by clicking here!
We are a semi-professional Shakespeare Festival organized in Michigan and located on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, about twenty minutes west of Grand Rapids. We've operated annually since 1993. We are Michigan's oldest and largest Shakespeare Festival.
More than 6,000 patrons attend our Festival activities each season, which include mainstage performances of the Bard's works, high school touring shows, workshops, new plays projects, symposia with visiting scholars, an all-campus student art competition, a Renaissance Festival, and other events.
Our productions are cast from a pool of students, community actors, and guest professionals; union artists are engaged under guest artist contracts administered by the Actors Equity Association. Our Festival company operates from mid-August through early November, producing public events starting in late September. By beginning our season in the late summer and early fall, we successfully merge quality productions with the academic life of the University community.
Our Festival maintains strong connections with national Shakespeare activity in several ways. Prominent Shakespeare practitioners are invited from around the nation and overseas who conduct panels, offer public presentations of their work, and visit literature and production classes on our campus. Guest artists are nationally recruited through regional professional auditions. All productions are adjudicated by members of the Kennedy Center-American College Theatre Festival (KC-ACTF). And the Shakespeare Festival is an active member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA). Faculty, staff and students regularly attend conferences, competitions, workshops and panels held by the SSTA and KC-ACTF.
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival is closely integrated with the University's training program in Theatre Arts. Festival is organized by members of the University faculty and staff, who strive to involve their students with all aspects of Festival planning and operation: management, production, fundraising, public relations, acting, design, budgeting and other areas. Each season the faculty and staff also strive to connect Festival activities to important areas of University life outside of dramatic arts: cinema, multicultural affairs, music, philanthropy and public service, alumni, dance, and communications, among others.
1994 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1995 - Romeo and Juliet
1996 - Twelfth Night
1997 - As You Like It
1998 - Much Ado About Nothing
1999 - Macbeth
2000 - Comedy of Errors
2001 - The Tempest
2002 - The Merchant of Venice
2003 - King Henry IV, part one
2004 - Measure for Measure
2005 - Hamlet
2006 - Love’s Labour’s Lost
2007 - Cymbeline
2008 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2009 - Romeo and Juliet
2010 - As You Like It
2011 - Twelfth Night
2012 - Richard III
2013 -Much Ado About Nothing
2014 – Comedy of Errors
Our Mission: The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival explores and celebrates Shakespeare and his culture for the West Michigan community and beyond through theatre and education.
New Shakespeare Festival Honorary Board Inaugurated
As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the GVSU Shakespeare Festival, the organizing committee appointed an Honorary Board comprised of some of West Michigan’s most ardent supporters of the arts and of community development. Their aim will be to propel the Festival toward even greater excellence, to strengthen the connection of the Festival to the larger community, and to help the Festival extend its reach to new audiences.
The Board’s 11 members were invited to meet at a reception held before the opening night performance on Much Ado About Nothing. Costumed students greeted the Board while members of the organizing committee treated them to the Cyril Lixenberg exhibit in the University Gallery as well as a pre-show talk by dramaturg Professor Jo Miller (English Department).
Members of the Honorary Board are:
Betty Burton, Tim Cusack, Gilbert Davis, Patricia Davis, Shelley Irwin, Don Lubbers, Nancy Lubbers, Laura Salazar, Ruth Stegeman, Bruce Tinker, Wendy Wenner
The Shakespeare Festival organizing committee is excited to have this valuable additional human resource to provide insight and input to our planning and audience development activities. Their service to the Shakespeare festival and GVSU twice blessed!
Click on the following links to find more information about other GVSU opportunities:
ReACT! The Peer Theatre Group
Tamira Henry, left, and Brian Russell, middle and guest artist for GVSU Shakespeare Festival's RICHARD III, appear in Nashville's 2011 Shakespeare Festival, JULIUS CAESAR. In background, Eddie George, former OSU and NFL player.
Scott Cramton (foreground), Mlive photo-Cory Morse How a GVSU graduate made a killing with dinner theater business Click here to read the GR Press article!
Theatre alum pursues comedy dreams in LA! Jill Zwarensteyn (Theatre, 2009) moved to LA in 2010 and is already working in the business! Universal Pictures just hired her to promote the film "Hop" at different events throughout Los Angeles. Since
An update from Whitney Hershberger: Since graduation I have completed a year of service with AmeriCorps at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, where I received hands-on experience with non-profit administration. During my year of service I also t