News & Events
Dedicated to bringing
FREE Shakespeare to the masses...
...in a socially distanced
kind of way!
New Artistic Director and A New Home
The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival would like to introduce Dusten Welch as our new Artistic Director. He has been serving as Operations Manager and an assistant to our outgoing Artistic Director, Tyson Rand.
Tyson has been with CSF since 2004, and assumed the role of Operations Manager in 2007. At the end of the 2009 season, he was named Artistic Director, and he has been the face of this organization for 12 years, having worked tirelessly to develop and promote the Festival. If you have attended our productions, you have undoubtedly seen him, since he attends almost every performance, and have probably spoken to him, for he is always ready to engage anyone in a conversation about our company.
Most likely, you have heard him sing out “good evening” to our audiences, and then, disappointed by the response, repeated his “good evening,” insisting that the audience respond with greater gusto. This is how we opened our shows for more than a decade.
Under his leadership, CSF has developed a network of directors, actors, and behind-the-scenes experts and technicians we call on to stage our productions. He also developed strong relationships with the various cities and parks throughout Northeast Ohio, so that we have dozens of locations we can use each season.
We cannot adequately thank him for all he has done to keep this organization alive through the lean years, and growing through better times.
Dusten Welch was named Artistic Director just a few weeks ago, but he has been with us for a while. This past season he directed a filmed version of Julius Caesar. Previously he has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), the regional premier of William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead (2009), and a reprisal production the following year (2010). He served as fight choreographer for a number of seasons with us, as well as a few roles on stage as an actor – including Hamlet in 2008. In his own right, Dusten has established impressive credentials as an award-winning fight choreographer with the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. He also was the founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare by the Falls, serving from 2016-2018. He teaches stage combat and is the resident fight choreographer for Baldwin Wallace University. Dusten is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, and holds a BA in Theatre from Ashland University.
We look forward to working with Dusten in the coming years.
We also are announcing new digs.
Beginning in October of this year, Cleveland Shakespeare Festival will be renting a newly-renovated space from Wizbang! Theatre, USA, at 2134 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH. Which offers respectable office amenities, production storage, multiple rehearsal areas, and an indoor performance area. We look forward to our relationship with this organization.
Since 2011, we have been sharing space with Ensemble Theatre, with whom we have a close relationship. Prior to that time, we had a small office in Lakewood with limited storage and no useful rehearsal space, and before that we had no home at all. Ensemble rented us office space, storage space and rehearsal space, and we opened our season at the adjacent PEACE Park. It was a convenient arrangement that served us well, but all things must pass. We will continue our relationship with Ensemble – Celeste Cosentino has agreed to remain on the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival Board of Directors – but will no longer share space.
We are happy to add Wizbang! to the list of performing arts groups with whom we are partnered.
Now in Video!
We are both saddened and delighted to bring our productions digitally to all of our communities this year!
Out of caution due to Covid-19, both COMEDY OF ERRORS and JULIUS CAESAR will be filmed and distributed free of charge to enjoy from the comfort of your home (or wherever you choose to get your Shakespeare on!)
We truly hope you enjoy, and though we are committed to bringing our productions free to the public, they are not free to produce. If you are able to donate at this time, please consider making a contribution to Cleveland Shakespeare Festival to help keep this program alive for seasons to come!
As always, Thank you!