To Go or Not to Go…to the Southern Shakespeare Festival

Tallahassee proudly welcomes the Southern Shakespeare Company, once again, to the capital city amphitheater at Cascades Park as an upscale kind of Shakespeare in the park presentation. The Southern Shakespeare Festival is a four-day long celebration of the timeless, world-renowned (possibly the greatest writer in the English language), William Shakespeare. Multiple performances commemorating his greatness will proceed throughout the weekend and each night is concluded with a bona fide Renaissance performance of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most prominent play. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Courtesy: southernshakespearefestival.com

The festival commences at 4 p.m. on May 10 with food fun and the big opening performance of Romeo and Juliet at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage. This performance continues all four nights of the festival at the same time each day. On the 12th and 13th the Southern Shakespeare’s young acting company, the Bardlings, will precede the main performance at 5 p.m. with a performance of Eighth Night and an original abridged version of Twelfth Night.

Courtesy: fiveprime.com

Also on the 12th and 13th, Cascades Park transforms into the epitome of the Renaissance period. Guests will be submerged in a cultural jubilee complete with illusionists, jugglers, stilt walkers, fortune tellers, belly dancing, blacksmithing and of course the authentic taste of medieval foods. Food trucks such as St. Evers Sausage House, Pink Jacket Catering and Lofty Pursuits will be available for guests to indulge in while they enjoy the festivities. Costumes aren’t necessary but they are highly encouraged if you want to really immerse yourself in the authentic Renaissance lifestyle.

Courtesy: visitflorida.com

At the end of the day take a seat beneath the stars in the amphitheater or bring a blanket and lounge on the grass with friends to enjoy the much-awaited performance of Romeo and Juliet performed like it would have been back in its hay-day. If you miss the performance the first night, that’s ok because the performance occurs each night at 7:30 p.m. and lasts for about two hours until 9:30 p.m. This particular performance has a special guest artist, Reneé O’Connor, an American actress who previously performed in Macbeth and starts in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. There will also be an ASL-interpreted performance scheduled for Friday the 11th for those wishing to attend.

The Southern Shakespeare Festival is a unique experience and is ranked one of the best Renaissance Festivals in the southeast region. For four days there will be a lot offered to the general public all for free of course. If you fancy yourself a Shakespeare enthusiast or even if you aren’t, this festival is not one to miss. For more information about the event feel free to visit the Southern Shakespeare Company’s website here, it’s loaded with information about the performances, the performers, the renaissance festival and so much more! Now all that remains is the question, to go or not to go?