How Far Do You Go For Your Shakespeare?

So last night I got invited out to New York City to see Hudson Valley Shakespeare rehearsals.  I greatly appreciate the invitation and the recognition, but I do not lead the kind of life that lends itself to spontaneous weekend trips to a different state. Fair enough – somebody asked me if I’d been out to Western Massachusetts to see Shakespeare and Company.  And, well…no. I have, however, driven (with just wife, not kids) over 2 hours up into Vermont I think it was to see my first live King Lear performance.  And last summer we made a family trip – one night only! – to see a special children’s version of The Tempest on Cape Cod(*).  Other than that I think the farthest we went was our trip to see the Rebels in Salem (Salem, was it?) which is surprisingly close to an hour drive, I had no idea it was that long. Personally, I’d happily become the sort of guy who takes a quick trip out to the Berkshires or to New York City to catch a show, if I were a single man.  But family obligations do count for something, and for any Shakespeare I do have to ask myself whether the whole family can make it, or if not the kids then at least the wife, otherwise that trip isn’t even business, it’s Daddy going off on vacation by himself, and that’s not really cool.   So, since I haven’t written much this week, I thought that might make an interesting topic for discussion.  How far are you willing to travel for your Shakespeare?  What variables factor into the decision?  Would you plan a vacation around a show?  Would you plan a vacation *specifically for* a show?  Would you get on a train, or a plane? Would you could you with a goat?  Or do you not?  Do you content yourself with whatever show rolls through town?   (*) By the way that summer trip last year was so well received by everybody that my wife has even said she’d be open to doing another one this summer.  Alas, that troupe is not performing this season.  So if anybody knows a good kid-friendly production happening this summer in the New England area, I’m all ears!

8 thoughts on “How Far Do You Go For Your Shakespeare?

  1. I live in Chicago, and I’m going to both Stratford (Ontario) and Ashland this summer. As mitigating factors, I’m seeing multiple plays, and there’s family involved (in both places).

  2. SInce I’m finishing up my degree, I don’t have much time to travel, but I’ll basically hit the tri state area if I have the time. (I’m Pittsburgh based) To offset this, my summer is going to be fairly Shakespeare packed, with at least one production of Romeo and Juliet, another of Dream, plus a visit to the Folger.

  3. OK. This is going to sound boastful, but I really can’t resist jumping in on this. I live in Canberra, Australia. I fly up to Sydney (150 miles) or down to Melbourne (500 miles) whenever there is Shakespeare on offer – the national theatre companies don’t often come to Canberra, and touring international companies never do. I also try to get to the UK every couple of years, and go to see as much at the Globe and in Stratford as my pocket can bear. One end of the planet to the other – I don’t think you’ll find someone going further.

  4. Well, I’ve made it a project to see all of the plays live, so I’ve been indulging myself for the last couple of years. I flew Atlanta to Denver for a day trip last year to see Henry VIII in Boulder, and I just went up to New York for the day to see a cast of high school girls put on Two Noble Kinsmen. Plus I’ve made the long, long drive to Staunton, Virginia to see my favorite Shakespeare company in the country (which used to call themselves Shenandoah Shakespeare but now seem to think they’re entitled to be called “The American Shakespeare Center”) a couple of times now.

    And I guess I could mention the time I won an “independent study” scholarship that allowed me to spend the Summer of 1996 slumming around the UK, watching and reading about Shakespeare between pints of ale. Oh, my God, was that ever a sweet gig.

  5. amusings_bnl says:

    It was Salem, indeed. And it does take an hour from where you are because of tourists and rte 114. horrible.

    Micah, my favorite Barenaked Ladie, Steven Page, is doing the music for “Bartholemew Fair” at the ontario stratford festival. and i lived in ashland oregon in 1988 and got to see a Gangster/Chicagoland rendition of romeo and juliet there at the Ashland shakespeare festival. Please drink a rogue brewery beer fresh from the tap in my honor… and enjoy your visit.

  6. I travelled from Denmark to the UK in january, to see Derek Jacobi, my favourite Shakespeare actor, play Malvolio in Twelfth Night. It was worth it.

  7. I know I’m getting into the conversation late, but we always drive about three hours to the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota. And we’ve never regretted it!

  8. Try the Barnstable Summer family Theater’s annual free Shakespeare in Aselton Park, Hyannis (Cape Cod, for any out-of-staters.

    They’re doing Romeo and Juliet after selling out four shows earlier this month at the high school. (They’re the summer version of the Barnstable High School Drama Club, and well worth a look.) Beautiful setting by the harbor. Bring chairs or a blanket,picnic lunch/dinner, and enjoy.

    Dates TBA, but probably Sundays in July at 5 PM.

    BSFT is also doing kids shows throughout the summer. Check their website:

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