The Oldest Free Independently-Operating Shakespeare Festival in the United States.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival began with the vision of actor, director and producer C. Douglas Ramey in the late 1950’s. His desire to bring the works of William Shakespeare to the neighborhoods surrounding historic Old Louisville has grown tremendously, now serving the Commonwealth at large. Incorporated in 1960 and designated The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival by the Kentucky Legislature in 1984, we work year–round to make Shakespeare accessible to urban and rural communities alike.
The Festival’s professional productions in the heart of Louisville’s preservation district each summer have become more than a family tradition. For the 7,000 to 12,000 individuals we serve each summer, it is an opportunity to see professional actors and technicians present the works of William Shakespeare without social or economic bias. By presenting our productions free of charge, we stand by our firm belief that art is for everyone – rich, poor, educated, illiterate, healthy or disabled.
Today the Festival has far exceeded Ramey’s dream. Whether we are “playing in the park” in the summer or touring the Commomwealth during the school year, whether we are teaching teachers to teach Shakespeare or teaching inmates how Shakespeare teaches us, whether we are a part of a family’s summer tradition or simply a part of one student’s afternoon… we are throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky year-round, making Ramey’s dream a reality.