The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is a professional, innovative and classic theater deeply committed to its community. Founded in 1999 with the vision of providing free outdoor performances of Shakespeare plays each summer, The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is structured with three distinct program areas: Performance, Education and Performance Research. Each area serves the community in its own way.
Currently, the Performance program area provides professional performances of Shakespeare plays each summer – accessible to everyone. The only theater in the Frederick area working under an Equity contract (the national union of actors and stage managers), The Maryland Shakespeare Festival also employs some of the most respected designers in the Mid-Atlantic region, creating productions at the highest artistic levels which everyone in the community can enjoy.
The Education programs strive to serve every child in the county and encompass the exploration of our individual voices and power through Shakespeare’s words. Current programs span from weekly classes to small intensive performing opportunities to long-term residencies. Shakespeare Alive! tours the mid-Atlantic Region. Project artists visit middle schools for three-week residencies. Each spring we accept a smaller group of students to work intensively on Shakespeare as our Intern Company. Finally, classes for both children and adults are ongoing along with discussion and reading series.
The Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s commitment to Performance Research focuses on the rehearsal process and techniques of the professional actor. The Maryland Shakespeare Festival hopes to further a national discussion on how to create classical theater that more profoundly impacts its audience while developing a strong core of more technically proficient and emotionally connected actors. The Maryland Shakespeare Festival currently has relationships with the Whole Actor Research Project and the Original Performance Practices Laboratory.
The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is a young company with several years of huge growth ahead to create an organizational foundation from which each of these program areas can be more fully realized. Year- round professional performances, all county student productions and professional research laboratories are all included in future plans and promise an exciting partnership with the greater Frederick community.