Celebrating Shakespeare in The Bend

As is the case in many places across the world, Shakespeare’s iconic works are celebrated around The Bend every year.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame puts on the wildly popular Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival every summer. The festival’s roots date back to an experimental course in 1989 at the University of Notre Dame called “Shakespeare-in-Performance.” The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, set for July this year, began producing theatrical events in 2000 and has grown in size since. Events included during the festival include community-oriented productions like Shakespeare After Hours and ShakeScenes.

Even better, there are events planned into the new year. Shakespeare at Notre Dame is partnering with The History Museum for a Shakespeare exhibit that opens in late summer, plus the Actors from the London Stage return to Notre Dame in September for a production of “Twelfth Night.”

Whether you want to see a live production or stroll through an exhibit, there are plenty of options in The Bend this year for Shakespeare lovers. Let’s take a closer look at the events.

Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The festival’s Professional Company returns for the 2020 festival with a beautiful new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Shakespeare’s classic comedy. Several shows of the production are planned. They’ll take place in the Patricia George Decio Theatre at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Here’s a full schedule:

Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. (preview)
Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (preview)
Thursday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. (Gala at 6 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m.

“The Two Noble Kinsmen”

Parks and stages around The Bend will be graced by the Touring Company’s performance of “The Two Noble Kinsmen.” Never before staged at Notre Dame, this play will include festival apprentices from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and other colleges and universities around the Midwest.

A schedule is below with more information to come on locations.

Sunday, July 19
Friday, July 24
Saturday, July 25
Sunday, July 26
Friday, July 31
Saturday, Aug. 1
Sunday, Aug. 2
Friday, Aug. 7
Saturday, Aug. 8
Sunday, Aug. 9
Monday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in front of Notre Dame’s Main Building

Shakespeare After Hours

July 17 |  LangLab

This raucous, no-holds-barred take on Shakespeare is set for one of The Bend’s most unique performance venues. Adults only shows, they feature performances from dozens of local artists with unique takes on some of Shakespeare’s bawdiest works.


July 18 | Washington Hall at Notre Dame

Looking to introduce the family to Shakespeare? This is your event. Dozens of young people from The Bend participate in producing these family friendly renditions of Shakespeare’s most famous works. ShakesScenes (pictured below) is in it’s 17th year.

Shakespeare in Fremont Park

TBD | Fremont Park

Now in its fourth year, Shakespeare in Fremont park returns with a new production featuring talent drawn from local neighborhoods. Bring your lawn chairs and snacks and be sure to grab a good spot to watch. These events are free.

Shakespeare + The History Museum

Shakespeare at Notre Dame and The History Museum announced during the spring plans to partner on an exhibit “showcasing the past, present and future of Shakespearean performance, analysis and culture at the University of Notre Dame.” The exhibit opens Aug. 24 and run into the summer of 2021. It will use costumes, photographs, props and interactive pieces to explore the influence of Shakespeare throughout the University’s history.

Along with the exhibit, there are plans for a series of special performances and events leading up to Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s 20th anniversary in 2020.

Actors from the London Stage

Mark your calendars: Actors from the London Stage are heading out on tour during the fall. One of the oldest touring Shakespeare theater companies in the world, AFTLS will perform “The Tempest” from Feb. 5-7 at Notre Dame.