Georgia Shakespeare

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Joanna Mitchell and Jason Loughlin in Georgia Shakespeare's 2007 production of Macbeth

Georgia Shakespeare (formerly Georgia Shakespeare Festival) was a professional, not-for-profit theatre company located in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States on the campus of Oglethorpe University from 1985-2014. Georgia Shakespeare produced three plays annually, primarily between June and November. Twelve educational programs were developed in the history of Georgia Shakespeare. These programs included "The High School Tour", a "High School Acting Competition", "Camp Shakespeare", a "High School Conservatory", a "No Fear Shakespeare" training program for educators, after school residencies, school tours, student matinees, classes for professionals, and in-school workshops. At its peak, it welcomed 60,000 patrons annually to its performances.



Georgia Shakespeare was founded in 1985 by Lane Anderson, Richard Garner, and Robert Watson under the name Georgia Shakespeare Festival. The company produced two plays each year, with its first offering being productions of The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear in rotating repertory starting July 10, 1986. The rising theatre company went through several locations in its first years. Its first season was on the Oglethorpe University front athletic field in a rectangular, white 60' X 90' tent with a seating capacity of 300. The theatre changed tents for its second season and was housed in a circular tent with a 90' diameter. This new tent increased the seating capacity by 50. For the theatre's fifth season, it moved into a 110' diameter circular tent that seated 400.


In 1991, Georgia Shakespeare expanded to three plays annually, and performed an adaptation of The Three Musketeers as its first work not written by William Shakespeare. In later years, the company has performed between three and seven plays per season. Georgia Shakespeare opened its 1997 season in the $5.7 million John A. and Miriam H. Conant Performing Arts Center with The Tempest. The Conant Center has a 509-seat modified thrust stage and it was this move that allowed the addition of a fall performance to the season schedule.


In 2001, Georgia Shakespeare became a member of the League of Resident Theaters and Shakespeare Theatre Association of America. At the time, it was one of only two theatres in the state of Georgia to be a part of this league. In 2004, Professor Andrew James Hartley, Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was appointed the company's first resident dramaturg (having served a similar long0time role in a production-to-production basis). In 2005, he published a book, The Shakespearean Dramaturg: A Theoretical and Practical Guide[1], based on his eight years experience dramaturging in the American southeast.


In 2011, mired in debt, the theatre launched a 'Save Georgia Shakespeare' campaign which was successful in raising over $500,000.[2] When Georgia Shakespeare was still performing under a tent, patrons of the theatre started bringing pre-show picnics. This became a tradition and when the Conant Performing Arts Center was built, a covered area with tables and chairs was set aside for picnics. In 2014, the grounds underwent a renovation funded through several Atlanta-area private foundations. In 2014, the theatre company closed for good in the middle of its 29th season, unable to stay open due to its high debts.[3]



  • Richard Garner, Producing Artistic Director, 1985-2014
  • Jennifer Bauer-Lyons, Managing Director, 2013-2014

Associate artists[edit]

Georgia Shakespeare had a core group of artists who, in 2014, had been with them between six and twenty-nine years and help define the theatre's identity. At the time of closing,[4] those artists were:

  • Hudson Adams
  • Janice Akers
  • Rochelle Barker
  • Clay Benning
  • Elisa Carlson
  • Rob Cleveland
  • Kat Conley
  • Tim Conley
  • Carolyn Cook
  • Jonathan Davis
  • Chris Ensweiler
  • Sabin Epstein
  • Bruce Evers
  • Drew Fracher
  • Neal A. Ghant
  • Andrew Hartley
  • Chris Kayser
  • Megan Kier
  • Tess Malis Kincaid
  • Klimchak
  • Joe Knezevich
  • Douglas Koertge
  • Park Krausen
  • Margo Kuhne
  • Liz Lee
  • Scot Mann
  • Karen Martin Dillard
  • Daniel Thomas May
  • Karen S. Martin
  • Katie McCreary
  • Tim McDonough
  • Megan McFarland
  • Katy Munroe
  • Allen O'Reilly
  • Saxon Palmer
  • Courtney Patterson
  • Mike Post
  • Karen Robinson
  • Robert Schultz
  • Brad Sherrill
  • Kendall Simpson
  • Christine Turbitt
















  • Hamlet
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • St. Joan
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • SHREW: The Holiday Musical










  • Shake at the Lake: The Servant of Two Masters
  • As You Like It
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • Tom Thumb the Great
  • Antigone






  • Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
  • Metamorphoses
  • Mighty Myths & Legends
  • Hamlet

2014 (Final Season)

  • Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
  • One Man, Two Guvnors
  • The Frog Prince


  1. ^ Hartley, Andrew (2005). The Shakespearean Dramaturg" A Theoretical and Practical Guide. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781403970077.
  2. ^ Holman, Curt (September 23, 2011). "Georgia Shake meets money goal, won't shatter 'Glass'". Creative Loafing. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  3. ^ Pousner, Howard (October 8, 2014). "Stifled by debt, Georgia Shakespeare calls it curtains after 29 years". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  4. ^

External links[edit]