The Summer Shakespeare Festival
The Summer Shakespeare Festival is the oldest and biggest open-air festival in Europe presenting works by William Shakespeare.
The Festival takes place from the beginning of June to the beginning of September on open-air scenes in Prague (Prague Castle and Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague), Brno (Špilberk Castle), Ostrava (Silesian Ostrava Castle) and Bratislava (Bratislava Castle). The Festival was started by President Václav Havel when he opened the Prague Castle to artists in the early 1990s in an effort to attract the public there. The first Shakespearean play was staged in 1990 and the festival has been held regularly since 1998.
The Festival enjoys wide popularity as we can see in the demand for tickets, record audience numbers (close to 90,000 per season) and its overall standard reflected in the unparalleled and lively media response and appreciative criticism. Around 150 plays are staged during a summer in an open-air auditorium seating 600 – 1,000 people which is as a rule filled to capacity. The Festival with its annual premieres has established itself during its existence as an event that the public at large does not miss. Plays staged exclusively for the Summer Shakespeare Festival are presented in Czech and sometimes in Slovak.
Although the Festival is largely intended for Czech audiences, the organizers collaborate with foreign ensembles working with Shakespearean themes. The audiences have been able to see during the Festival the comedies ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘A Midsummer Night‘s Dream’ performed in English by British Shakespeare Company (2009), the comedy ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ played by GB Theatre Company (2010), an appearance of the London-based company Shakespeare‘s Globe with the project ‘Globe on Tours – Hamlet’ (2014), a concert evening ‘Patrick Doyle – Shakespeare in Concert’ (2015), and the tragedy ‘Richard III’ (2016) performed by the Prague Shakespeare Company to mark the four hundred years’ anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
The Summer Shakespeare Festival is organized by AGENTURA SCHOK.