Where to Watch Shakespeare in October

October features lots of free, virtual theater events, including insightful interviews, amazing play readings, artsy scavenger hunts, and star-studded galas. Plus, theater-goers in some parts of the country can check out in-person experiences and productions. Here’s a look at what the Folger’s theater partners are up to this month.

These are just some of the places you can find Shakespeare in October. What are you planning on watching this month, online or in-person? Tell us in the comments!

Find Theater Online

Join the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company for a new play reading series, FOUR PLAYS CSC WILL NEVER DO… PROBABLY, October 9 through November 20. Every other week, your favorite CSC artists will get together to present a play that the company would never do (… probably) as a Zoom-paced event streamed live on Facebook. The series kicks off October 9 at 7 pm ET with King John. Follow the company on social media to stay up to date on the series.

New content is always coming to the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Behind the Curtain series: this month, check out an interview with actor, musician, composer, and CTH Music Director Kahlil X. Daniel.

⇒ Related: Classical Theatre of Harlem Associate Artistic Director Carl Cofield answers 30 lightning-fast questions on our Shakespeare Lightning Round.

Starting October 28, Door Shakespeare kicks off virtual performances of The Comedy of Errors, featuring Broadway’s Duane Boutté. Keep an eye on the company’s website to learn more.

The Old Globe’s online Thinking Shakespeare Live: Sonnets! series wraps up October 20 at 9:30 pm ET / 6:30 pm PT with a grand finale. The Old Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein has spent all summer exploring the joys and peculiarities of Shakespeare’s sonnets; now, some of the nation’s greatest Shakespeareans and Old Globe alumni, including Blair Underwood, Kate Burton, and Bill Irwin, perform some of the poems Edelstein explored in earlier episodes of the series. Watch it live on Facebook, YouTube, or The Old Globe’s website.

That’s not The Old Globe’s only online program this month. Reflecting Shakespeare TV, The Old Globe’s transformative program originally created for people experiencing incarceration, invites you to join them for Season 2. You’ll use William Shakespeare’s texts and characters as a launch point for self-reflection to create community and reduce isolation. The program airs Mondays at 9:30 pm ET / 6:30 p.m. PT, starting October 5, on the Globe’s website, Facebook, or YouTube.

October 29, the Seattle Shakespeare Company hosts a free, live audio production of “Richard III.”

October 29 at 10:30 pm ET / 7:30 pm PT, Seattle Shakespeare hosts a free livestream of Richard III. This audio presentation revisits the Seattle Shakespeare Company and upstart crow collective’s 2018 production of Richard III, featuring most of its original cast. This gripping portrait of a cunning villain’s rise and fall from power features a diverse cast of female and non-binary actors. Tickets are free, but pre-registration is required.

October 5 –  25, Seattle Shakespeare is also hosting The Great Seattle Arts Adventure, an all-ages scavenger hunt style adventure game for teams to engage in activities related to arts and arts organizations in the Seattle area. Teams join the game via a mobile app to complete missions for points, and earn points by answering trivia questions or by completing activities and submitting photos or videos. You can complete your missions at home, or within your neighborhood’s boundaries; all of them adhere to local stay at home regulations. Teams can join the game at any point, and anyone can play: while a lot of the missions are Seattle-based, arts lovers from anywhere will find something to do and learn. Seattle Shakespeare is hosting the game on behalf of 21 other participating Seattle arts organizations.

Actor, stage manager, and director Jerry Adler joins the Utah Shakespeare Festival for a virtual chat on October 15.

October 15 at 1 pm ET / 11 am MT, stage manager, director, and actor Jerry Adler shares the ups and downs and the joys and pains of a life in the theatre in a virtual seminar from the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Adler—perhaps best known for playing the roles Herman “Hesh” Rabkin in The Sopranos, Mr. Wicker in Mad About You, and Howard Lyman in The Good Wife—began his theatre career as a stage manager in 1950. He made his directing debut with the 1974 revue Words and Music, and also directed the 1976 revival of My Fair Lady. The seminar, which you can catch on the Festival’s Facebook page, is moderated by the Festival’s Executive Producer Frank Mack and Education Director Michael Bahr.

Theatre for a New Audience’s Sheltering with Shakespeare series continues this month. Conceived and performed by actor, teacher, dramaturg, and scholar Dakin Matthews, Sheltering with Shakespeare is a free series of short explorations of Shakespeare accessible professionals and amateurs alike. New episodes are released weekly and are available to watch for one week.

This month also features a pair of fun, free virtual galas! Tomorrow, October 10 at 11 pm ET / 8 pm PT, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum invites you to Carry It Ona virtual gala hosted by comedian/actor/writer Pamela Adlon of FX’s Better Things. The show will feature special guests, aerial performances, music, comedy, and an online silent auction; you can reserve your free tickets on Theatricum’s website.

Later in the month, join the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for its free Dare To Dream Gala, October 23 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PDT! The evening will feature performances by over a dozen artists, including a reunion of the cast of 2019’s hit production of Cambodian Rock Band. The Dare to Dream Gala is free and open to all. RSVP on OSF’s website.

There’s lots happening here at the Folger too. On October 28 at 5 pm ET, Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig joins us on the Shakespeare Lightning Round, live on our Instagram, to talk about his newest play, teaching your children Shakespeare, and which of Shakespeare’s ghosts he thinks is the spookiest. In the meantime, keep your eye on our YouTube page for our Folger ENCORES series. Each Friday, we’re dropping a new clip from one of your past performances on the Folger stage. Check out a bit of our 2019 production of Love’s Labor’s Lostwith a new introduction from director Vivienne Benesch:

While you’re visiting our YouTube page, check out the Folger Institute’s Critical Race Conversations, free online discussions with pathbreaking scholars about an expansive range of topics in the field of early modern critical race studies. On our next episode, scholars Gitanjali G. Shahani (San Francisco State University) and Jennifer Park (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) discuss race and early modern food culture. Tune in October 15 at 3 pm ET.

Join In-Person Experiences

Stop by sixteen panels on the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s grounds to join in the “Speak the Speech” fun!

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival invites visitors to its grounds in Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery to experience Speak the Speech, a free theatrical installation. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s directive to “speak the speech” and by American playwrights today, Speak the Speech offers visitors a way to experience theater outdoors in the beautiful park and garden surrounds for safe, interactive fun and enrichment. Sixteen easily-located panels, spread along ASF’s grounds, feature the works of August Wilson, Dominique Morisseau, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Zora Neale Hurston, Christina Quintana (CQ), Jiréh Breon Holder, Alice Childress, Lauren Gunderson, Thornton Wilder, Lorraine Hansberry, Mary Kathryn Nagle, and William Shakespeare. “This is a great outside, social activity for people,” says ASF Artistic Director Rick Dildine. “Blount Cultural Park is a gem with its walking paths, ponds, geese, and calm environment. The fourteen selections offer a little taste of theater that gives people a moment of imagination and creativity.”

Through October 18, Wisconsin’s American Players Theatre presents “If These Trees Could Talk,” an immersive, auditory experience that takes visitors on a self-guided tour around their property with a finale in the Hill Theatre, as they listen to recorded poetry, stories, and recollections read by APT’s acting company.

The cast of "Othello" at the American Shakespeare Center.
The cast of “Othello” at the American Shakespeare Center. Photo by Lauren Parker.

The American Shakespeare Center’s SafeStart Season continues through October 18, so there’s still time to catch their hit productions of Othello and Twelfth Nightrunning in repertory. Both productions are also available digitally thanks to the ASC’s partnership with MarqueeTV.


The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, American Shakespeare Center, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Door Shakespeare, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare, Theatre for a New Audience, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and Utah Shakespeare Festival are members of the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.

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