With Hey, Ho, The Wind And The Rain: Weather News

We make every effort to perform outdoors, but if weather intervenes, we do have alternate locations.

Friday, June 23: In case of rain, performance will be held inside the Salvation Army Community Center
Sunday, June 25: Alternate rain location is the Old Stone Church at 91 Public Square

Check back to this page around 6pm on the performance night for further updates.

2017 Summer Touring Schedule

All performances begin at 7pm.  Please bring a blanket or low-slung chair.

Adapted and Directed by Lisa Ortenzi

Click location to open a map

Friday, June 16: PEACE Park, Cleveland Hts
Saturday, June 17: Notre Dame College, South Euclid
Sunday, June 18: Bedford Public Square, Bedford
Friday, June 23: Salvation Army Community Center, East Cleveland
Saturday, June 24: Lakewood Park
Sunday, June 25: Public Square, Downtown Cleveland
Friday, June 30: Shaker Heights Community Colonnade
Saturday, July 1: Garfield Historic Site, Mentor
Sunday, July 2: Lincoln Park, Tremont

Adapted and Directed by Tyson Douglas Rand

Friday, July 21: PEACE Park, Cleveland Hts
Saturday, July 22: Public Square, Downtown Cleveland
Sunday, July 23: Grove Amphitheater, Mayfield Village
Friday, July 28: Notre Dame College, South Euclid
Saturday, July 29: Lakewood Park
Sunday, July 30: City of Mentor Amphitheater
Friday, August 4: Cahoon Park, Bay Village
Saturday, August 5: Sims Park, Euclid
Sunday, August 6: Lincoln Park, Tremont

Volunteers Needed!
Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on SignUp.com

Sweet and Twenty – A Benefit for CleveShakes!

“Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth’s a stuff will not endure” – Twelfth Night

Please join us on Sunday, May 21 from 5-8pm to enjoy a few delectables, reminisce and celebrate 20 years of FREE OUTDOOR SHAKESPEARE in Cleveland!

Speakeasy at Bier Markt
1948 W 25th St
Sunday May 21 5-8pm

$25 per person

If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation to help make our 20th Anniversary season a success!

BardLab Training Course

BardLab is a six-week course designed to prepare the actor for acting in verse drama, with a special emphasis on skills needed for outdoor performance.

Saturday mornings between 10am and 12pm
May 6-June 10
Ensemble Theater
2843 Washington Blvd in Cleveland Heights

COST: $100 for 12 hours of instruction

Topics covered include:

Week 1: Paraphrasing
Week 2: Scansion
Week 3: Rhetoric
Week 4: Direct Audience Address
Week 5: Performing Outdoors
Week 6: Putting it all together

This is more than just putting Shakespeare into your own words. Shakespeare wrote during what is termed the early modern​ era – the vocabulary that he used and we use today are almost identical so less “translation” is needed than we think.
Shakespeare’s ability to use a word with a multiplicity of meanings in multiple ways is one of the reasons we keep performing his works. This method of paraphrasing not only helps the actor find Shakespeare’s multiple meanings but also allows for better communication between the director, scene partners, and the audience.
Scansion and Rhetoric
In Shakespeare’s time, theater companies didn’t have directors. One theory is that the playwrights left clues in the scripts to help the actors find their way through a character and scene. Scansion and rhetoric are those clues.
Many of Shakespeare’s plays are written in verse form that has a specific rhythm. The scansion class will help you identify those rhythms and to learn what they might mean to help you make
choices as an actor.
is “the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech” (dictionary.com). Shakespeare uses many figures of speech in verse and prose, but rhetoric is what provides the rhythm for his prose speeches.
Direct Audience Address
Get comfortable playing to the groundlings by addressing your speeches directly to the audience by learning how to treat it as another character in the play.
Performing Outdoors
All the above information is useless if the audience can’t hear or see you. This class will explore ways to warm up and perform in order to adjust your voice and physicality to the space.
Putting It All Together
The final class is an opportunity to get everyone on their feet to use the information to perform a small scene.

Kelly Elliott has a MLitt and a MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. While there she worked with the American Shakespeare Center and both acted and directed on their recreation of the Blackfriars Playhouse. Before graduate school, Kelly choreographed stage combat, performed, directed, and produced in theaters all around Northeast Ohio. Her play KILL WILL (co-written with Joshua Brown), which addresses all the deaths in Shakespeare in about an hour, had its world premier at Cleveland Public Theatre and was also performed at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Kelly’s extensive experience with Shakespeare includes (but is not limited to) a stint co-running the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival (1999-2001), choreographing violence for many Shakespeare productions, working for Great Lakes Theater’s education department, playing the titular role in MACBETH, and receiving positive reviews for her portrayal as Bottom the Weaver in Brave Spirits Theatre’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Washington, DC).

Audition for our 20th Season!

Twenty years ago, we started with a simple notion – the Bard belongs to the people, and the people deserve to hear his works in the open air as intended and free of charge.  This summer, we celebrate our 20th birthday by producing the same works we did in that inaugural season – The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth.

We are seeking a company of intelligent, energetic and imaginative actors of all races and ethnicities for two productions that will tour a variety of outdoor venues across Cuyahoga and Lake Counties.

Afternoon Auditions: Sunday, April 23 from 1pm – 4pm
Evening Auditions: Monday, April 24 from 7:30pm – 10pm

Auditions will be held at:
Ensemble Theatre
2843 Washington Blvd.
Cleveland Hts. OH 44118

Callbacks will be held Wednesday, April 26

The Taming of the Shrew – adapted and directed by Lisa Ortenzi
Performance Dates June 16 – July 2
Rehearsals begin April 30

Macbeth – adapted and directed by Tyson Douglas Rand
Performance Dates July 21 – August 6,
Rehearsals begin in early June
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 stipend.  Actors may participate in either or both productions.

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 May 1 & July 21 AND Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays through August 6.

Open Mic Shakespeare – The Sonnets – Monday, Feb 6

Open Mic Shakespeare continues with a reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, just in time for Valentine’s Day! From the famous “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” to the relatively unknown “My love is as a fever, longing still”, there’s plenty of love in this classic collection to fill your hearts. We were thrilled that so many people joined us last time, so let’s keep it going!

This month’s read is going to be on the West Side at the Starbucks in Rocky River (19555 Detroit Rd). We’d like to give a big shout out to all our West Side fans and patrons to come join us! Like our summer show, this event is absolutely FREE and open to the public.

The Rocky River Starbucks has graciously offered their meeting room for free. It’s not often we find such an awesome venue that is so generous, so we would ask that all our potential guests please consider purchasing a drink or pastry when they arrive on Monday the 6th.

Open Mic Shakespeare – July 2nd & 30th – CYMBELINE

Last month, we followed the Bard to a mysterious island in the Mediterranean! This month, we land in the United Kingdom—BEFORE it was united. In “Cymbeline”, Shakespeare weaves a tale of two lands, Rome and Britain, who’s respective people are questioning the relative meaning of “love and honor”.

Due to the play’s length, we’ll be reading the first half of it this month and the second half of it next month.

Open Mic Shakespeare is an ongoing play-reading series brought to you by The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. One day each month, we invite anyone and everyone to stop in and read a Shakespeare play with us, at a cool spot in the Greater Cleveland area.

This month, we’ll be meeting twice, Saturday July 2nd and Saturday July 30th, 2-4:30pm, at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Lee Rd. Public Library, Meeting Room B. Like our classic summer performance season, entry to Open Mic Shakespeare is absolutely free, now and forever.

Open Mic Shakespeare is BYOB (Bring Your Own Bard) – we’ll have some copies available, but if you have a copy please bring it!


We’re happy to announce our 2016 summer tour, with a few new communities added!
Follow the link for each production to view cast list and more info.


Adapted and directed by Doug Farren

Friday, June 17: PEACE Park, Coventry Neighborhood, Cleveland Heights
Saturday, June 18: Tri-C West Campus, Parma Heights
Sunday, June 19: Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, Kirtland

Friday, June 24: Community Colonnade, Shaker Heights
Saturday, June 25: Lakewood Park, Lakewood
Sunday, June 26: Stocker Arts Center, Lorain County Community College, Elyria

Friday, July 1:  Notre Dame College, South Euclid
Saturday, July 2: James A. Garfield Historic Site, Mentor
Sunday, July 3: Lincoln Park, Cleveland


Adapted and directed by Allan Byrne
Click a venue to open in Google Maps:

Friday, July 22: PEACE Park, Coventry Neighborhood, Cleveland Heights
Saturday, July 23: Grove Amphitheater, Mayfield Village
Sunday, July 24: Bedford Public Square, Bedford

Friday, July 29: Tri-C West Campus, Parma Heights
Saturday, July 30: Lakewood Park, Lakewood
Sunday, July 31: Sims Park, Euclid

Friday, August 5: Cahoon Park West, Bay Village
Saturday, August 6: Lincoln Park, Cleveland
Sunday, August 7: Lincoln Park, Cleveland

All performances begin at 7pm and are presented FREE OF CHARGE
Bring a blanket or low-slung chair

Listen to WCLV interview with TIMON OF ATHENS director David Hansen and lead actor Luke Brett

WCLV 104.9 FM afternoon host Mark Satola interviewed David and Luke about THE LIFE OF TIMON OF ATHENS and CSF.  Have a listen!

Scene Magazine names CSF “Best Outdoor Arts Experience” for 2015

We’re very grateful to the kind folks at Scene Magazine, Cleveland’s free weekly newspaper, for including us as the “Best Outdoor Arts Experience” in their “Best of 2015” issue.

The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival is an exciting event series in Cleveland, but it’s still somewhat under-the-radar, particularly among those who aren’t totally plugged into the region’s theater scene. Often enough, passersby out for a gentle walk — through, say, Lakewood Park — have stumbled upon a performance of, say, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ This year, take the time to look up the group’s schedule and make an evening of it. Pack a picnic, bring your friends. Shakespeare is timeless stuff, and Cleveland is lucky to have such a wellspring of talent to deliver the good bard’s finest works each summer.