Nashville Shakespeare Festival & Winter Shakespeare 2021 Canceled

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"Now is the winter of our discontent made silent summer by this darned pandemic."

"Dear Friends and Family of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival,

I am sorry to say that Summer Shakespeare will not happen this year, nor will our traditional full production for Winter Shakespeare 2021. The staff and board of NSF have been carefully following the course of the pandemic and the reopening plans in our region. After much consideration, we have concluded that until we can assure the health and well-being of our artists, audiences, employees and volunteers, we will be suspending all regular programming and maintaining the recommended practices that will help diminish the virus' contagion.

After 32 years of continuous production, this quiescence is certainly a disappointment, but necessary for the good of our artists and our community. Our survey results, with which the board concurred, indicated that most patrons remain uncomfortable with public gatherings, given the risk of a resurgence of COVID-19. Our professional theater colleagues have also decided to postpone all live programming for the upcoming months until we can better assure the safety of our artists, production crews as they rehearse and perform together. Many factors went into making this terribly difficult decision and expressing solidarity with the other performing arts organizations is one of them.

As the country is currently in the throes of civil outrage at the continual injustices suffered by Black, Indigenous, Immigrants, and all People of Color, the staff and board of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival are unanimously committed to making inclusion, equity, and diversity hallmarks of our casting and company leadership. We are actively devoting this time to re-evaluating and strengthening our protocols in all aspects of our operations. Shakespeare is exciting theater, in part because the plays help us understand our human condition, from villainy to virtue. We reaffirm our commitment to bring these stories to you in ways that reflect NSF, and Nashville's, highest ideals for a diverse, equitable, and just community.

This Nashville community is dear to me, and I am so sorry that 10,000 to 12,000 of our regular audience members will not experience the annual tradition of Summer Shakespeare and share the wonders of Shakespeare performed live. I'm sorry for the dozens of artists, technicians and others, that will not be employed by the Festival this year. I'm sad that dozens of volunteers who are so essential to the company will not gather to create the joyful community they usually do.

We have every intention of springing back to life in person in 2021 and offering as much online programming as possible in the meantime. We theater people are adaptive, passionate, and resilient. Nashville needs a Shakespeare festival, and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival needs you. Your continuing support will help keep the Festival strong and stable enough to serve the mid-south community through professional Shakespearean experiences in the coming months and years.


Denice Hicks"

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