August 2017

Centennial Park August 10–September 17, Thursday–Sunday

by Jim Reyland

“We’ve never produced Antony & Cleopatra before, and it’s been twelve years since we last did The Winter’s Tale. Both are fascinating romances, one beginning as a comedy and ending as a tragedy, the other beginning as a tragedy and ending as a comedy. These shows complement each other in ways that will make seeing both rewarding.”
—Denice Hicks, Executive Artistic Director

Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Lovers in The Winter’s Tale; Photography by Rick Malkin

It’s time to collect family and friends and Centennial Park them under the stars as the actors and artists of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF) gather to entertain us with the words of that Elizabethan Wonder Boy William “Will” Shakespeare. This Nashville summer holds not just one but two of the bard’s greatest works. Don’t miss a true highlight of the season when the NSF continues its beloved tradition of Shakespeare in the Park from Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, September 17, at Centennial Park’s band shell. The signature summer program will feature two Shakespearean productions: The Winter’s Tale and Antony & Cleopatra.

In case it’s been a long time since you were in high school, The Winter’s Tale is a fanciful story set in a fairy-tale world and is directed by NSF’s Artistic Associate, Santiago Sosa. The setting is inspired by the diverse South American Cultures during the Gran Colombia era. Antony & Cleopatra is a taut thriller about new love in later years and a cautionary tale of political brinksmanship, where the powerful play games that result in war and ruin. The performance is directed by David Ian Lee, a director, playwright, and professor at Middle Tennessee State University.

In the theatre business, when something works you take it on the road. So in addition to the Centennial Park shows, NSF will offer a return to Williamson County for its second annual Shakespeare in Academy Park, which will run from September 28 through October 1 and feature both The Winter’s Tale and Antony & Cleopatra at the former campus of Battle Ground Academy. Visit













“We are excited to announce this year’s chosen works for Shakespeare in the Park and to return to Centennial Park in Nashville for the twenty-ninth year and Academy Park in Franklin for the second year,” said Denice Hicks, Executive Artistic Director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

There’s a reason that Shakespeare’s poetry and prose have been around since the late 1500s. They stand the test of time because they are timeless. So if it’s been a while, plan to re-immerse yourself—get to the park and discover Shakespeare all over again. The Festival’s acting, production, and stage craft will make both you and Shakespeare proud. You’ll agree that theatre on this level, in this location, is truly a joy. So get out the lawn chairs and the cooler—it’s time to enjoy summer with friends and family in Nashville’s new and improved Centennial Park for two of the bard’s very best, The Winter’s Tale and Antony & Cleopatra.

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival educates and entertains the Mid-South community through high-quality Shakespearean experiences. The company is one of the region’s leading professional theatres, and since its inception more than 460,000 Tennesseans have experienced the arts through one of their programs, which include Shakespeare in the Park, Winter Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Action, and other educational initiatives. For more information or to attend a show, visit

Cast of Antony & Cleopatra and The Winter’s Tale

General admission to Shakespeare in the Park is open to the public with a $10 per person suggested donation. Food and beverage vendors open at 6 p.m.; pre-show entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m., and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Royal Packages are available for those seeking the ultimate VIP experience. This package is the Festival’s major fundraiser and includes reserved parking, prime seating, a Bacon and Caviar-catered gourmet picnic, a special gift, and personal welcome from the Nashville Shakespeare Festival volunteers and staff. There are a limited number of packages available for each performance, so guests are encouraged to book early. Royal Packages are $75 each.

Visit for details.


Jim Reyland’s STAND, starring Barry Scott and Chip Arnold, voted Best New Play by the Scene, returns to Nashville October 27 and 28 at the 4th Story Theater, WUMC. Only three Nashville shows will kick off the third national tour. has details.


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