Join me as I drive across the continental United States, visiting summer Shakespeare festivals from Richmond, VA to Ashland, OR to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall.
As a Bardolator, I wanted to explore Shakespeare festivals from the east coast to the west coast.
Along the way I hope to learn as much about America as I do about Shakespeare, and what the Bard means in a country so far away from his own, both chronologically and geographically.
Each company I visit will be written up on my blog, highlighting their unique personality and how their approach to Shakespeare compares with other companies across the country. I hope to bring all the companies I visit — large and small — into a national dialogue about Shakespeare theatre in America.
My first exposure to Shakespeare came from watching Star Trek. My father was an avid Trekkie so I absorbed a lot of Shakespeare through osmosis as I watched Picard and Kirk explore the galaxy in the starship Enterprise.
I fell in love with Shakespeare ten years ago and started volunteering with Quill — then Richmond Shakespeare — building sets, selling concessions, and eventually writing dramaturgical essays and teaching drama camps.
Over the last ten years I’ve taught in public and private schools as well as in a juvenile detention center. I’ve written educational TV spots for PBS and started a Shakespeare literary magazine. I’ve traveled across the US, to Canada and the UK to see Shakespeare productions. I’ve worked as a dramaturge on productions for Quill, and in 2016 I directed a short film of Measure for Measure.
But this year I will embark on my greatest Shakespeare project, making my way across the country, acting as an ambassador for American Shakespeare, visiting large and small festivals across America, learning about Shakespeare in the New World.
In the end I hope to write a book about my experiences, documenting what I learn about America and Shakespeare by spending the summer making my way to Ashland to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
One must be flexible on a road trip, so all of my destinations will depend on timing and production schedules. But my tentative route is below.
I set out from Richmond, VA on June 29th.
Currently heading northwest in the general direction of Ashland, OR. After visiting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival I will turn south down the Pacific Coast and then turn east after San Diego to head home to Richmond, VA through the south, Texas and Georgia, into North Carolina and then back to Richmond by way of Staunton.
If you know about Shakespeare happening along my route that I've not listed here, please email me and let me know!
Staunton, VA — American Shakespeare Center
Cincinnati, OH — Cincinnati Shakespeare
Louisville, KY — Kentucky Shakespeare
Boulder, CO — Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Cedar City, UT — Utah Shakespeare
Lake Tahoe, NV — Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, OR — Oregon Shakespeare
San Francisco (area), CA — San Francisco Shakespeare + African-American Shakespeare Company + Marin Shakespeare Company
Los Angeles, CA — Independent Shakespeare Co + New Swan Shakespeare Co
I spent Friday visiting the Mark Twain sites and then drove a few hours over to Kansas City where I stayed in the musty old farmhouse. Saturday morning I got up early and drove over to Second Best Coffee where I camped for a couple of hours, requesting places to stay on CouchSurfing and looking […]
After Louisville, I went to St Louis to visit an old friend and crash for the night. Friday morning I got up early and headed northwest to visit the home of another old friend, one from my childhood: Tom Sawyer. Like most American schoolboys of a somewhat literary disposition, I had grown up thinking of […]
I will begin by apologizing for how infrequent my blog entries are and will likely continue to be while on this trip. It is harder than I anticipated to find the time to sit down and write anything substantive. Between driving, seeing shows, dutifully updating my social media accounts, planning out my destinations, and begging […]
Summer Shakespeare trip, take two! We are restarting the clock at days 1-3 Finally recovered from my mysterious illness, rental car in my possession full of granola bars and trail mix, I left Richmond Saturday morning headed for Staunton. I found a wonderful host on Couchsurfing.com and met up with her to get the keys […]