The Shakespeare Tavern is an Elizabethan playhouse located in the SoNo district of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The Tavern is home to the Atlanta Shakespeare Company and Chef for a Night catering, which offers British pub food and beverages before each performance. The Tavern has been located at 499 Peachtree Street since 1990. ASC's Artistic Director is Jeff Watkins.
History of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company (1984 to 1990)
The Atlanta Shakespeare Company was started on May 16, 1984 by Jeffrey Watkins, who continues to serve as president of the company, which performed its first production of As You Like It at Manuel's Tavern on North Highland Avenue. Over a period of six years, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company produced Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew in the back room at Manuel's, and at the nearby Excelsior Mill, attracting national attention with articles in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and coverage by CBS and CNN.
Opening of the Tavern (1990 to 1999)
In 1990, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company opened the Shakespeare Tavern at 499 Peachtree Street. Since the Tavern opened, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company has produced over 73 plays, presenting 1,600 plus performances, including more than 30 Shakespeare titles and over 18 period classics by the likes of Aristophanes, Shaw, Aphra Behn, Jean Racine, Christopher Marlowe, Jean Anouilh, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Niccolò Machiavelli, Albert Camus, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, Molière, Bertolt Brecht, Jean Cocteau, and Thornton Wilder. In 1995, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company was the first American company to perform on the stage of Shakespeare's Globe in London, England.
The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse (1999 to present)
After a $1.6 million renovation and expansion, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company opened The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse on October 15, 1999. Complete with a Globe-inspired balcony, the renovated Tavern created an even more active Elizabethan actor/audience dynamic. In spring 2006, after completing a $500,000 renovation, The Atlanta Shakespeare Company revealed a Globe-inspired façade, further adding to the Elizabethan feel of the Tavern.
In 2004, The Shakespeare Tavern was listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor).
In spring 2011, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company became the first American company to complete the Shakespearean Canon with a production of Edward III, though the play's authorship is disputed. Following the completion of the canon, they put on a satirical production of Double Falsehood.
- "Shakespeare returns to Manuel's Tavern". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. March 8, 1985. p. P/16.
- "Atlanta Shakespeare troupe to play in restored Globe". The Albany Herald. Associated Press. May 29, 1995. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- "Shakespeare Tavern reborn: New look replicates London's Globe". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 30, 2006. p. JN4.
- Minton, Eric. "Playing the Whole Shakespeare Canon: Great Works and Great Work Too". Retrieved 24 September 2012.