Shakespeare Takes Over Central Minnesota

William Shakespeare would’ve turned 448 on Monday, so it’s only fitting that we highlight a new, one-of-its-kind, collaborative Shakespeare festival taking place in central Minnesota. Eleven arts organizations, including the Great River Education Arts Theatre (GREAT) in St. Cloud, the Minnesota Center Chorale, and the St. Cloud State University Theatre Department, have come together this spring to bring locals and visitors alike a unique festival to honor and celebrate The Bard. See art, watch performances, hear music—it’s the whole package. The GREAT Theatre Shakespeare Festival started in March, but some of the best events are still to come.

Strike the Viol: The Minnesota Center Chorale highlights Shakespeare’s work through the sounds of composers like Schubert, Verdi, and more (April 29).

West Side Story: The Great River Education Arts Theatre (GREAT) presents this musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (April 28-May 13).

West Side Story Art Show: Showcased in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre where the above musical is staged, this art show features works by all ages and inspired by the themes of the musical (April 27-May 15).

Macbeth: Take in a free flick at the Paramount Theatre, which presents Roman Polanski’s 1971 version, starring Jon Finch (May 8).

Shakespeare All Ages Art Show: Anyone was able to submit pieces to this show, on display at the St. Cloud Public Library (through May 15). The library also has interactive displays set up featuring fun facts, famous quotes, and more Shakespeare-related activities (through May 20).

As You Like It: The St. Cloud State University School of the Arts stages this cross-dressing comedy (my personal favorite) in the round, with a soundtrack featuring The Beatles (at the Performing Arts Center on campus, May 17-20).

Much Ado About Nothing: If this tale is more your speed, head to Tech High School where the drama department performs it (May 18-20).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Created specifically for students, this GREAT production tells the story of four young lovers in one of The Bard’s most comical plays (at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theatre at St. John’s, May 18-20).

Shakespeare Display: The Stearns History Museum displays several years worth of photos of Stearns County students performing Shakespeare plays (through May 20).