Nashville Shakespeare Festival Celebrates The Bard's 448th Birthday on Sunday, April 22

April 2
1:38 PM 2012


Nashville Shakespeare Festival is calling all would-be Romeos and Juliets to join them in Centennial Park on Sunday, April 22, for their celebration of William Shakespeare's 448th birthday!

For the third year in a row, says Denice Hicks, the Festival's executive artistic director, the company will stage the “Biggest Balcony Scene Ever” at Centennial Park. The party starts at 3 p.m. at the park's bandshell.

“Last time we had more than 80 Romeos and Juliets, and we would love for even greater participation this year," Hicks said.

Scripts will be available to all who show up.  Romeos will take their place on the ground, while Juliets will stand on the balcony (bandshell).  

Pizza and birthday cupcakes will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic fare and, after the completion of the balcony scene, to stay on for free family entertainment from various local performers. In keeping with Elizabethan tradition, all dogs are welcome.

Following the performances, judging will begin for the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday costume contest. Prizes will be given in the following categories: best star-crossed couple, best dog costume and most creative costume (adult and children). One of the celebrity guest judges this year will beNashville Paw Magazine’s very own Briley!

"What better place than Centennial Park bandshell, where Shakespeare in the Park happens each summer, to celebrate the Bard's birthday?" Hicks said.

The 2012 Shakespeare in the Park production will be Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Hicks, and running August 16-September 16.  For more information, visit or call (615) 255-2273.

Pictured: Denice Hicks, producing artistic director, Nashville Shakespeare Festival

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.

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