ROMEO AND JULIET: July 18 – August 3

The classic tragedy of “star-crossed lovers”, this production pulls the action from Renaissance Verona to the streets of contemporary Cleveland. Presented free of charge in two outdoor venues: July 18-20: Coventry P.E.A.C.E. More »


Love and magic intermingle when two couples get lost in an enchanted fairy forest on the eve of a royal wedding.  At the same time, a group of rustic amateur actors rehearse More »


NO Open Mic Shakespeare in December!

Our monthly play-reading series is on temporary hiatus while we search for a new home.

Go back to our homepage and join our email list to be notified when we resume!


2014 Touring Season

Our 17th season of free outdoor Shakespeare commences June 6.
All performances begin at 7pm.
Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs.

Friday, June 6:   PEACE Park, Coventry Village
Saturday, June 7:  Shaker Heights Community Colonnade
Sunday, June 8: Notre Dame College, South Euclid
Friday,  June 13: Lincoln Park, Tremont
Saturday, June 14:  Lincoln Park, Tremont
Sunday, June 15:  Stocker Arts Center, Lorain County Community College, Elyria
Friday, June 20: Lakewood Park, Lakewood
Saturday, June 21: Lakewood Park, Lakewood
Sunday, June 22: Cuyahoga Community College West Campus, Parma
Friday, June 27:  Grove Amphitheater, Mayfield Village
Saturday, June 28:  James A. Garfield Historical Site, Mentor
Sunday, June 29:   Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, Kirtland


July 18-20: PEACE Park, Coventry Village

July 25-27; Aug 2-3:  Lincoln Park, Tremont

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE on Friday August 1 at 7pm at Market Square Park – W 25th and Lorain


CSF teams up with Ensemble Theatre to co-produce Voodoo-themed MACBETH

Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political effects produced when evil is chosen as the way to fulfill the ambition for power.

In 1936, Orson Welles created a historic production of this play, casting a company of African-Americans and moving the setting from Scotland to one that evoked Haiti in the 19th Century, under the reign of the slave-turned-emporer Henri Christophe.

Ensemble Theatre, in partnership with the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, is recreating and reimagining this landmark production using a multicultural cast, and working from the Federal Theater Project’s script.

The production opens May 23 and runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm through June 8th.

Co-directed by CSF Artistic Director Tyson Douglas Rand and Ensemble Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino, this production features a stellar cast, led by Jimmy Woody as Macbeth and Carly Germany as Lady Macbeth.

CnA flyer 2014

Third Annual ‘CAKES AND ALE’ Benefit Party

Old Will Shakespeare’s turning 450 this year!  Come help us celebrate with an evening of frivolity and merriment on Saturday, April 19th from 7:00 – 11:30pm

The party will be held at the Negative Space Gallery in AsianTown Center at 3820 Superior Ave.  Park in lots B or C and come to the second floor.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

  • Play crazy party games like “Shakespearean Death Bingo” or “Jeop-Bard-y” and win prizes!  Bid on items in the silent auction and raffle.
  • Take part in SHAKESPEARE-OKE – Deliver your favorite passage from Shakespeare or spin Giddy Fortune’s Furious Fickle Wheel and have a soliloquy or sonnet randomly assigned to you to perform!
  • To top off the evening, prepare to be dazzled by glamazon chanteuse extraordinaire Miss Alexandra Huntingdon!
  • Of course, what would a birthday party be without cake and ice cream (and adult beverages for those of age!)

Most importantly, you’ll be helping to support CSF’s mission of bringing FREE OUTDOOR THEATER to the residents of Northeast Ohio!



2014 Summer Season Auditions

Cleveland Shakespeare Festival Announces Auditions for their 17th Season of Free Outdoor Theater

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – directed by Dusten Welch
Performance Dates June 6-29
Rehearsals begin April 27
Touring to ten different outdoor venues across Northeast Ohio

Romeo and Juliet – directed by Tyson Douglas Rand
Performance Dates July 18 – August 3
Rehearsals begin June 9
Performed in Coventry’s PEACE Park and Tremont’s Lincoln Park

Afternoon Auditions on Sunday, April 13th – 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Evening Auditions on Monday, April 14st – 6:00 to 9:00 PM

No appointment necessary.  Artists will be seen in the order of sign in.
There are no AEA contracts available. No housing is provided.  All actors and production staff are paid a modest stipend.

Prepare two contrasting monologues. Total delivery time of both monologues combined should not exceed three minutes. At least one of your two monologues must be from the works of Shakespeare.

For consideration, bring TWO COPIES of each – head shot & resume, and please also bring any & all possible known conflicts between the dates of April 27st & July 17th AND Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays through August 4th.

Call Backs will be Tuesday and Thursday, April 15th & 17th, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Auditions will be held at CleveShakesFest Headquarters:
Coventry Commons (formerly known as Coventry Grammar School)
Ensemble Theater Center
2843 Washington Blvd.
Cleveland Hts. OH 44118

We offer a total of twenty-one performances on tour in repertory to ten different outdoor venues across Northeast Ohio to a combined audience of several thousand.

For more information about auditions and our full touring schedule, visit our website at  If you’re interested in volunteering or joining us in any other capacity, please email

We hope to see you there. Break a Leg!

CSF recognized by BBC America blog as one of “10 British Things about Cleveland”

The editor notes that the Open Mic Shakespeare reading series sounds ‘utterly intriguing’.  Consider yourself invited, BBC America!

Open Mic Shakespeare – On Hiatus

NOTE: The Open Mic Shakespeare series is on hiatus indefinitely while we search for a new venue.
Join our mailing list to be notified when we’re starting up again.


On the first Monday of each month, we gather in an informal, social setting, for the pleasure of speaking and hearing the verse aloud.

Roles are distributed prior to reading, and we switch it up each act, so there are plenty of chances to read a variety of roles.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle (if you care to have a drink) and Bring Your Own Bard – limited copies of the script will be available, so please bring your own if you have one.
Free apps are available for iPad and Android with the complete works.

We welcome all comers, regardless of acting experience. It’s even OK if you just want to come and listen, although often folks can’t resist the fun and join in before the evening’s over.

See our Facebook events page to RSVP


“Free Will Shakespeare” Workshop to be led by Dougfred Miller

The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, in collaboration with Ensemble Theatre, is pleased to offer “Free Will Shakespeare,” a three-session workshop designed by Great Lakes Theatre actor Dougfred Miller, to free your delivery of Shakespearean verse from the bonds of ink & paper by furthering your ability to find and realize the tempestuous action from its various clues. We will cover such things as:

  • Readiness & conditioning.
  • Meter: why bother?
  • Letting the imagery do the work for us.
  • Where we all fit within the Great Chain of Being.

This workshop is ideally suited for anyone looking to expand their ability to (or assuage their fear of) speaking verse, or participate in Great Lakes Theater’s upcoming auditions in September.

Having a monologue in verse from Shakespeare (or a contemporary) is strongly recommended, though it does not have to be memorized for the first class. A hardcopy of the monologue is a good idea; wearing flip-flops is a bad one.

Dougfred Miller, Great Lakes Theater actor and educator, will lead the sessionDougfred Miller is an actor with more than 25 years professional experience in classical theatre, in a career that has spanned the continent and canon. As a company member of the Great Lakes Theater, he has played a variety of Shakespeare’s great roles, including Cassius, Jaques, Macbeth, and most recently Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. For many other theatres and Shakespeare Festivals, his work includes Richard III, Prince Hal, Benedick and Prospero. He can currently be seen as King Arthur in the Beck Center’s production of Spamalot. Doug is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s PTTP and a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
When: 3 Monday evenings: August 19, August 26, and September 9 (no class on September 2nd Labor Day).

Where:  Ensemble Theatre at the Coventry Commons (Old Coventry School) 2843 Washington Boulevard, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118.

Investment: $60

Questions:  E-mail

Sorry! Enrollment is full, but add your email to our mailing list on the right and we’ll keep you updated on future educational opportunities!

CSF to present an abridged Midsummer Night’s Dream at One World Festival – August 25th

Inspired by the beauty and potential of Rockefeller Park and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, IngenuityFest creator and Cleveland Public Theatre founder James Levin is launching Cleveland One World Festival to bring people back to the Gardens. Cleveland One World Festival will expand upon the Cleveland Cultural Gardens’ “One World Day,” a celebration held in the gardens for the past 65 years. The Cleveland One World Festival event will launch on August 25th, 2013, and will offer a cultural smorgasbord in celebration of Cleveland’s incredible cultural diversity. This FREE event will feature authentic, ethnic food, drink, and musical, theatrical, and artistic entertainment will showcase the best of what Cleveland’s cultural communities have to offer.

The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival will be offering two free performances of an abridged A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the British Cultural Garden, 1100 East Blvd.  This adaptation features five actors who play ALL the roles.  

CAST:  Carrie Williams, Charles Hargrave, Joe Dunn, Hillary Wheelock, Rachel Kolis
Directed by Brian Pedaci
Adapted by Larry Nehring

See the One World Festival website for more information and a full schedule.

For more information on the British Garden, click here.

Production Photos – 2013 Summer Season

Enjoy these shots from our two touring productions.  See our tour schedule or each individual production’s page for more information on venues and dates.

Measure for Measure:

Two Gentlemen of Verona: