The Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival’s annual Shakespeare by the Sea has been a summer staple for 29 years. In lieu of an in-person celebration of its 30th anniversary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the festival will invite viewers to a free virtual festival beginning on Friday, August 21 through Labor Day Weekend. The performance will be available for streaming on the theater company’s website.
The production was filmed in July with a professional (and socially distanced) cast of actors and film crew and was made possible by the company’s new Sharing Shakespeare program, sponsored by a grant from PNC ArtsAlive and additional support from donors. Through the program, viewers will have access to the performances, a Shakespeare study guide for all ages, and supplemental videos from the festival’s artistic director, Trent Stephens.
More than 9,000 guests attend the dual weekend Shakespeare by the Sea festival each year. Patrons pack elaborate spreads of food, beach chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, and more to enjoy the festival with friends and family.
“We are so thrilled to offer, for the first time in our company’s history, a fully filmed production of our show,” said festival co-producer Elizabeth Dashiell. “While it isn’t the same Festival experience as our outdoor event, we are encouraging our faithful patrons and first-time Festival watchers to create their own mini-festivals. We want to see photos of their picnic spreads, costumes and other typical festival sights, and hear their reactions to the performances.”
The Festival is inviting viewers to share photos or videos of their creative locations, menus, and attire to the Festival’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts @pbshakespeare.