Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival
First producing events in 2000 under the name of “Summer Shakespeare,” the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival has grown exponentially in subsequent years to include a number of regular performances and frequent special events.
Each season now includes a production by its Professional Company, traveling performances by the Touring Company (including visits to area middle and high schools), and opportunities on its stages for local residents in its Community Company collaborations: ShakeScenes, Shakespeare After Hours, Shakespeare in Fremont Park, and Shakespeare Around the Bend.
Additional programs feature special events such as guest artists, lectures, and presentations.
The mission of the NDSF is simple: To enrich our surrounding communities educationally, socially, and culturally by exploring the works of William Shakespeare and other classical authors through performance.
Comprised of Equity Principal professional actors and technicians, student talent from across the United States, and local talent, the NDSF Professional Company produces a full mainstage production every summer in Notre Dame's beautiful Patricia George Decio Theatre.
These stunning productions draw thousands of visitors from across the United States, as well as several international regions, and feature Broadway directors, Tony Award-winning designers, and world-class actors from the Cleveland Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, the Old Globe, the Public Theater, Canada’s Stratford Festival, and many others from New York to Los Angeles.
Featuring members of the NDSF Professional Company, student talent from across the United States, and local talent, the NDSF Touring Company visits multiple locations across Michiana every summer with a full-length production.
Reaching thousands of community members annually, the Touring Company has performed in dozens of towns and cities including South Bend, Goshen, Plymouth, Valparaiso, Richmond, Benton Harbor, Lakeside, Niles, Three Oaks, Elkhart, and many more.
Designed specifically to serve the South Bend community region, the Community Company features multiple events throughout the summer.
ShakeScenes is a perennially popular community event featuring elementary-age students from the South Bend area performing scenes from and inspired by Shakespeare. This family-friendly performance has introduced thousands of children across the area to Shakespeare ever since its inception.
Shakespeare After Hours, staged at LangLab in South Bend, features an adults-only night of boozy, bawdy fun highlighting Shakespeare's scandalous side.
Shakespeare in Fremont Park is a seven-week program that affords young people the opportunity to work directly with adults to create, rehearse, and perform a theatre production inspired by Shakespeare. Performances take place at Fremont Park in South Bend's west side.
Finally, Shakespeare Around the Bend, our newest community initiative, performs for underserved communities in South Bend and features cast and crew members drawn from those neighborhoods.
The Apprentice Program is a key component of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF). Most apprenticeships last 9 weeks. Apprentices are involved in all three NDSF companies, part of a corps of students at the Festival each year. Most are actors or stage managers in both the Touring Company (exclusively undergraduates, recent grads, and graduate students, supported by professional directors and coaches), and in the Professional Company. But some also are hired as stitchers, carpenters, board operators, teaching artists, and run crew.