Illinois Shakespeare Festival
Illinois Shakespeare Festival
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2014 Season

On the Main Stage    


by Timothy Findley

This brilliant, award-winning play imagines Queen Elizabeth spending the eve of her lover's execution in the company of William Shakespeare and his players. Seeking distraction from her grief, she watches Much Ado About Nothing and afterward, banters with Ned, the actor who played Beatrice, about his playing a woman, and her playing a man. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is writing a new play called Antony and Cleopatra – about a Queen's tragic affair with her lover – which Elizabeth finds suspiciously familiar. Elizabeth Rex will be performed in repertory with both of these Shakespearean plays, making a trilogy of uniquely connected productions that cannot be missed.

Opening Saturday, July 12 @ 8:00 p.m.

The Theatre at Ewing and The Center for the Performing Arts


by William Shakespeare

Messina's soldiers have returned from victory abroad to discover new battles at home! Sworn bachelor Benedick and his fiery counterpart Beatrice engage in a war of words and wit while their friends watch their attraction grow stronger with every skirmish. Meanwhile, Claudio plans to wed his true love Hero, unaware of the villainous Don John's desire to foil his plans. Will these battles end in victory? Our exciting production has the answers – and a whole lot more – featuring the same actors who play these parts in Elizabeth Rex. Our investigation of Shakespeare's original practices continues with a hilarious all-male production of MUCH ADO.

Opening Friday, July 11 @ 8:00 p.m.

The Theatre at Ewing and The Center for the Performing Arts


by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's epic portrayal of Mark Antony's intoxication with the stunning Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Drunk with passion, the Roman war hero and leader neglects his duties back home, ignores prophecies, and enrages his former allies by choosing Egypt and its beautiful ruler while the Roman Empire hangs in the balance. When Octavius Caesar turns on Antony, is his attack on Egypt enough to rouse the smitten soldier into action? Often requested and seldom performed, this production is as enchanting as its Queen. In our repertory, Cleopatra will be played by the same actress who plays Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth Rex.

Opening Sunday, July 13 @ 7:30 p.m.

The Theatre at Ewing and The Center for the Performing Arts

Special Performances    


by William Shakespeare

There are no records of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well having been performed in Shakespeare's lifetime, but we are proud to present it within yours. Join artistic director Kevin Rich and a great cast of Chicago-based actors for The Shakespeare project of Chicago's theatrical reading of All's Well That Ends Well.

Monday, April 28 @ 6 p.m.

The Center for the Performing Arts


Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written) The Improvised Shakespeare Co. creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes.  Nothing is planned-out, rehearsed, or written.  All of the dialogue is said for the first time, the characters are created as you watch, and if ever you're wondering where the story is are they!  Come see the show TimeOut Chicago calls, "staggeringly brilliant" and "downright hilarious."  You've never seen the Bard like this before!

Saturdays, July 19, 26, August 2, 9 @ 6 p.m.

The Theatre at Ewing


Free Shows



by Nancy Steele Brokaw

Ever wonder how stories are made? Or why William Shakespeare was so good at telling them? Or if YOU can write really, really, really good stories, too? You can! Learn how as you go on an interactive adventure with young Will through the ancient mountains of books and scrolls to find the mother of all storytellers, Old Goose. Be astonished as Old Goose helps Will spin fantastical tales – swash buckling, magical, or kissy-kissy; funny, tragic, or a little of both. Hear "Shakespeare language" that's easy to understand. Learn the three building blocks of solid story telling – the beginning, the middle, and the end. Then GASP because in between the beginnings ("Once upon a time") and the endings ("I bid you farewell"), some amazing things happen. After all, "The play's the thing." See? You get it already! So join us on the Festival grounds for this Shake, Shake, Shake Your Shakespeare 45-minute romp, written especially for the young and young-at-heart.

Wednesdays & Saturdays  @ 10 a.m.


Enjoy live Jazz each Friday and Saturday night and hear a variety of traditional and contemporary musical groups on Thursdays.

Fridays - Saturdays beginning July 11 @ 6:30 p.m.

The Grounds of the Ewing Cultural Center

 General Festival Ad    


Past Shows

2013 Performances

2012 Performances

2011 Performances

2010 Performances

2009 Performances

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Scapin
  • Richard III
  • The Tempest (Theatre for Young Audiences Performance)

2008 Performances

  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Titus Andronicus
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre for Young Audiences Performance)
2014-04-11T14:27:12.455-05:00 2014