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New Artistic Director Matt Wallace today announced the 2014 summer season of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. For the first time in twenty-five years, Kentucky Shakespeare will produce three shows in repertory in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Old Louisville’s Central Park. The season will also include a returning program, The Globe Players, comprised of area teens who perform in a full-length production, and two brand new initiatives: two weeks hosting community partners’ Shakespearean productions, and a pre-season tour of one of the productions in Louisville-area parks. The complete park season will run for ten weeks (June 11-August 17) with 56 performances during that period.

Wallace exudes excitement and energy about moving forward by returning to the organization’s roots of producing not only multiple productions but also doing so in repertory, giving locals and tourists alike the opportunity to see three Shakespearean productions over one weekend.

The three productions that will form the core of the 2014 season are high name recognition titles – yet scripts that have not been produced for many summers.  Opening the season is a quintessential outdoor show, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (last produced by Kentucky Shakespeare in 1993).  Henry V follows, last performed as part of a four-year commitment to the History Cycle in 1996. Completing the primary season is Hamlet, last produced in 2002, a production in which Wallace performed. The first two productions will run for two weeks each, with Hamlet having one full week of performances before all three shows go into rotating rep for two more weekends. Plans are being made to tour a 90-minute Hamlet to parks during April and May, with support from Metro Council members. Wallace will direct the mainstage Dream and Hamlet, with guest director Amy Attaway helming Henry V. Designers returning to the Festival include scenic designer Paul Owen, lighting designer Casey Clark, and costume designer Donna Lawrence-Downs.

The Globe Players take to the stage the following week, July 31, with a production of the little-seen Love’s Labour’s Lost (having last been produced by Kentucky Shakespeare in 1977). The Globe Players have presented both Dream and Hamlet as well as several other Shakespeare plays since their inception in 2004.  Brian Hinds directs this year’s production.

Rounding out the season are Wallace’s invitational weeks. For each of two weeks in August, guest companies will produce a Shakespeare production in rotating rep. The week of August 5, Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble will bring their collaborative adaptation of As You Like It to the Central Park stage, alternating with a Walden Theatre production of Pericles directed by Julane Havens. The final week of the season, August 12, brings alternating presentations of King Lear, directed by J. Barret Cooper from Savage Rose Classical Theatre, and Women of Will, a compilation of Shakespearean scenes, directed by Kathi E.B. Ellis from ShoeString Productions .

Fifty-four years after C. Douglas Ramey brought a Carriage House Players’ cutting of Much Ado About Nothing to Central Park in the summer, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival will offer audiences eight Shakespearean productions during its 2014 summer mainstage season. While the summer season in Central Park is at the core of the organization’s programming and mission – Kentucky Shakespeare Festival is the oldest continually operating free Shakespeare company in the country – its educational programming now reaches into every county of the Commonwealth, employing teams of teaching artists during the school year to reach the 50,000 students per year who benefit from the diverse Shakespeare programs touring to schools. In addition, during the summer, Kentucky Shakespeare offers a number of Camp Shakespeare experiences for students too young to participate in the Globe Players.

From park to Parks, from camps to classrooms, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival is once again demonstrating that all the world can indeed be a stage as it embarks on a robust and ambitious season under the new leadership of Matt Wallace.