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History of the Abilene Shakespeare Festival

The Abilene Shakespeare Festival, which began in 1990, is located in Abilene, Texas on the Abilene Christian University campus. Each year we are excited to take advantage of the theatre spaces in ACU's Williams Performing Arts Center. This venue offers an exciting challenge for artists, and stands as an integral part of the life and culture of Abilene. The 2000 Festival was our first time to produce two plays simultaneously, and it proved to be a great success both with audiences and with cast/crew.

The Festival, which takes place annually in June, provides an excellent opportunity to expose West Texas to the major works of Shakespeare and other classical literature. Our audiences have been made up of young and old, blue collar and white collar, cowboy and executive. We continue to introduce new patrons to Shakespeare who have little experience in regular theatre-going, and we are committed to bringing them high-quality, exciting new productions of classical works for little to no admission price.

Full Production History

Much Ado About Nothing

This 1960s out-a-sight take on Shakespeare incorporated music by your favorite sixties’ groups such as the Supremes, the Beatles, the Shirelles, Tina Turner, and many more! Shakespeare’s template for the modern romantic comedy hit all the right notes with witty repartee, fantastic tunes and more than a hint of romantic attraction. This production showed the Bard at his fun-loving best in a raucous musical comedy.

The Comedy of Errors

In this 2011 production, director Gary Varner took a completely fresh approach to Shakespeare’s funniest farce about mistaken identity using only six actors and inventive staging. Audience participation made this an especially fun evening for patrons and actors alike.

Othello

In a groundbreaking production celebrating the Abilene Shakespeare Festival’s 20th anniversary, the ACU Theatre collaborated with ACU’s mobile initiative to engage audiences in a startling and innovative way with Shakespeare’s classic text. This new, contemporary interpretation offered a creative and interactive experience intensifying the thrilling story of Othello and Desdemona as they are caught in the wicked, fiendish web of Iago’s vengeance.