Where to find Shakespeare in May

There’s lots of Shakespeare to see in May, including multiple performances from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Folger’s virtual Gala. Meanwhile, theaters like the Atlanta Shakespeare Company are returning to socially-distanced in-person performances. Keep scrolling to discover some of the places you can find Shakespeare this month.


Hurry to Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Chicago ShakesSTREAM platform to experience four different Shakespeare performances. The Theater’s filmed production of I, Banquo and its audio productions of Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night are streaming on-demand through May 16. I, Cinna (The Poet) is streaming on-demand through May 30. Plus, stream a free recording of the Theater’s recent event TO BE: 4/23, which marked Shakespeare’s birthday with a conversation with rapper and actor Common and musical performances broadcast from the Theater’s rooftop.

On May 25 at 7 pm ET, you’re invited to our free virtual Folger Gala. With special appearances by Sir Derek Jacobi, Richard Clifford, Cyrus Chestnut, and Terrance Hayes, we’ll celebrate the Folger and reflect on all the ways Shakespeare inspires us. Learn more and register for free on our website.

There’s more than one way to perform Shakespeare’s plays—on May 25, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival explores three! At 9:30 pm ET / 6:30 pm PT, the Festival invites you to a Takes on Romeo and Juliet watch party. Hosted by the San Mateo County Library system, the watch party features the Romeo and Juliet episode of Takes on Shakes, the Festival’s new video series that explores iconic scenes from Shakespeare. Director Chris Steele provides live commentary between three directorial “takes” on the play’s iconic balcony scene, examining the way a production can reproduce its period’s gender norms and highlighting the role of gender-queerness in understanding the play and its language. Register for free on the Festival’s website.

Find out more about the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival when we interview Artistic Director Rebecca J. Ennals on the Shakespeare Lightning Round, live on Instagram May 26 at 5 pm ET. Ennals will answer our thirty lightning-fast questions about Shakespeare and the theater and tell us about the Festival’s innovative use of technology to create virtual performances.

Drs. David Sterling Brown and Erika T. Lin join Classical Theater of Harlem Associate Artistic Director Carl Cofield for a discussion of Shakespeare and race.May 13 at 7:30 pm EDT / 6:30 pm CDT, join the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and Missouri History Museum for Shakespeare, Race, and Who Gets to Tell the Story, a conversation with Carl Cofield, Classical Theatre of Harlem Associate Artistic Director. Cofield, director of the Festival’s upcoming production of King Lear (opening June 2 with Tony-winner Andre Dé Shields in the title role), will join Drs. David Sterling Brown and Erika T. Lin to discuss the role race plays in Shakespeare’s work, the ways people of color have used his work as a vehicle for artistic excellence, and how centuries-old works can be retold to explore issues of race and equity today.

⇒ Related: Watch past episodes of our Shakespeare Lightning Round with both Carl Cofield and David Sterling Brown.

Stefan Richmond as Mercutio, Nicholas Japual as Tybalt, and Meme García as Romeo in “Romeo y Julieta,” from the Seattle Shakespeare Company.

Watch Romeo y Julietafrom the Seattle Shakespeare Company, starting May 21 – June 6, 2021. This bilingual, English/Spanish production of Shakespeare’s classic love story celebrates Latinidad and queer culture and is a brand-new way to experience this play in a free, view-on-demand video production.

⇒Related: Listen to our interview with Meme García (Romeo in Romeo y Julieta) about house of sueños, their spooky Salvadorian-American take on Hamlet.

Acclaimed actors from Hollywood, Broadway, and London’s West End team up for Shakespeare@’s Shakespeare@ Home radio drama series. Conceived as an homage to the heyday of radio theater from the 1930s and ’40s, Shakespeare@ Home’s serial productions of Richard II, The Tempest, and Julius Caesar are available to listen to for free on their website and streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher. These acclaimed sonic productions feature stars from around the globe, including Tony-nominee Patrick Page (Broadway’s Hadestown) and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor).

To serve educators and students, Shakespeare@ partnered with Shakespeare scholars and professional educators to launch their Digital Education Initiative. Each of their radio productions is accompanied by a dynamic, multi-media study guide filled with activities, lesson plans, cast and crew interviews, and more, designed to be used in either classrooms or virtual settings. Qualifying schools, teachers, and educational institutions can access Shakespeare@’s study guides for free. Visit their website for more information.

Educators have more to look forward to this month. May also features two free professional development workshops from Folger Education. May 13, join Dr. Christina Porter, Director of Humanities with Revere Public Schools, for ALL Students Deserve the Real Thing: Teaching Shakespeare to English-Language Learners, in which she’ll demonstrates easy-to-use techniques to make Shakespeare’s plays accessible to all students, particularly English-language learners. May 26, join the Folger’s Corinne Viglietta for Teaching Shakespeare Is Teaching Race. It is?, a thirty minute exploration of four scenes from Shakespeare to grapple with in your classroom. See all of Folger Education’s upcoming workshops on our Folger Teaching platform.

Educators can also access the Arkansas Shakespeare Theater’s new interactive educational resource, Shakespeare in Isolation: Conflict and Forgiveness. The program’s videos compare the emotions and situations that many of us are experiencing today with those of Shakespeare’s iconic characters. Fill out a brief form on the Theater’s website to gain access to these educational resources.

Finally, some happy news from Atlanta, where performances of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s all-female, outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this weekend are totally sold out. It’s an exciting return to in-person productions for the company. We can’t wait to hear what they’ll bring to the stage next!


Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Arkansas Shakespeare Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Shakespeare@ are members of the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.