BN Life

The Play’s the Thing

Illinois Shakespeare Festival 40th Anniversary

Romance, revenge, comedy, jealousy, murder, action, magic … no wonder William Shakespeare has been popular for over 400 years; his plays have it all.  High school English classes still read Romeo and Juliet each year, and his works are performed all over the world. It’s also events such as the Illinois Shakespeare Festival that keep the works of The Bard alive and well.

This year, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary. What started out as a production on a tennis court at Ewing Manor in 1978 has grown into a full-blown festival, with behind the scenes tours, green shows, food trucks and a gift shop. Performed at the gorgeous outdoor amphitheater on the grounds of Ewing Cultural Center, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is a must-see for theatre lovers.  Three plays are chosen each year for the festival. Let’s break down this year’s selections:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This family-friendly production of Shakespeare’s world-famous comedy follows four young lovers into an enchanted forest for an unforgettable journey of trickery, laughter, and love.

Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline
Adapted by Chris Coleman

A brilliant princess, an evil queen, and a thoroughly rotten clown are just some of the characters in this fairy tale romance. Six actors play all the parts in this fantastical adaptation.

I Heart Juliet
By the Q Brothers Collective

The latest creation of the Q Brothers Collective, I Heart Juliet brings their incredible energy, humor, and hip-hop verse to Shakespeare’s timeless masterpiece, Romeo & Juliet!

Grab your friends, a picnic basket, a bottle of wine, and see Shakespeare under the stars!

For more information, visit or call 309.438.2535

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