Shakespeare in the Park
About the Festival
Southern Shakespeare Company’s FREE Shakespeare in the Park Festival has been a downtown Tallahassee tradition at Cascades Park since 2015.
Each Mother’s Day weekend, the mainstage festival performances play Thursday-Sunday at 7:30 PM and SSC’s junior acting troupe presents an abridged spring play at 5:30 PM on Saturday-Sunday. Food trucks and vendors, merchandise and education booths, and the beautiful al fresco atmosphere make this a great introduction to theatre and a wonderful event to return to each year!
May 9-12, 2024, we are proud to present Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a comedy that charts one royal family’s journey of redemption. On May 11-12, The Bardlings will present an abridged version of The Tempest, Shakespeare’s comedy about the foibles and forgiveness of courtiers set adrift on a remote, magical island.
Want to make the most of your festival experience? Check out our FAQ.
Looking for information about our recent and past festival mainstage performances and guest stars? Keep scrolling…!
2024 Guest Artists
The quality of the mainstage SSC festival performances each year matches that of the many Shakespeare productions we’ve watched in much larger cities throughout England and the U.S. Tallahassee doesn’t know how lucky it is!
My 19 year old granddaughter was smitten. Days after [the festival] she enthusiastically shared her experience of the evening with a group of youths who claimed “there’s nothing to do in Tallahassee”…Thanks for the encounter!
Thank you THANK YOU for bringing [the festival] back!!! My love of Shakespeare started because of that first [Southern Shakespeare] showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thank you for bringing back one of my loveliest childhood memories.
The set, the costumes, the actors and their excellent performance throughout the play all contributed to a feast for the eyes and ears. And for those who are hearing impaired, watching the signers convey the message and emotion was a treat!
I’ve seen a LOT of Shakespeare, both community and professional, and this show was hands down one of the best I have ever seen. Don’t miss out!
Our auditions for Much Ado About Nothing will follow all CDC guidelines. At this time, masks are required to be worn by all participants during the in-person auditions.
Participants must be free from fever for 48 hours without medication and not exposed to anyone with a fever for 48 hours. They must also not have any flu-like symptoms or be exposed to anyone with flu like symptoms.
Masks may be removed by the auditionee, once in the audition room, assuming all parties are comfortable, as the Director and Stage Manager will be maintaining greater than six feet of distance from the auditionee.
Your cooperation in keeping everyone safe is vital; if you feel sick, please stay home and consider a self-taped or Zoom audition.
The Adderley Amphitheater stage in Cascades Park has been Tallahassee’s home for Shakespeare in the Park since 2015.
Learn more about our production history: click on a show title to view the production’s digital playbill or click on gallery photos to view them in a larger size.
Guest starring two-time Emmy nominee Kelsey Scott and Alec Ruiz, 2023
Photographer: Bob Howard
Guest starring Kevin McDonald of The Kids in the Hall, 2022
Photographer: Bob Howard
Originally formed in 1995, the Southern Shakespeare Festival was reinvigorated after a fifteen-year hiatus in its new home, Cascades Park. In 2020, there was no production in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Character breakdown by James Alexander Bond
Beatrice – Outspoken “pleasant-spirited lady” with a very sharp tongue. She is generous and loving, but mocks others with great word play & banter. She doesn’t want to marry and when she wages a war of wits she takes no prisoners. Think Kate from Shrew, but if she accepted her lot in life and people liked her.
Claudio – Also a soldier & war hero. He is the more traditional “handsome young man/lover.” His arc follows the anticipation of love and achieving it, through loss, grief, and back again. His highs are high and his lows are deep. It is important for this character to access & express emotion honestly.
Hero – The beautiful daughter of Leonato, cousin of Beatrice, and object of Claudio’s love. She is the embodiment of all a young woman should be, as opposed to Beatrice. She goes through all the joy of a storybook romance and all the pain of having it ripped away from her unjustly.
Don Pedro – An important and high-ranking nobleman who led these soldiers in war. He is generous, kind, courteous, and intelligent … if only he were not hasty to believe the worst in people and quick to take revenge.
Leonato – Well-to-do, respectable older nobleman, father to Hero, Uncle of Beatrice who he takes care of, and governor of Messina. Second in social standing only to Don Pedro.
Don John – Illegitimate brother of Don Pedro, AKA “the Bastard.” He is melancholy, sullen, and vindictive. His scheming destroys Hero & Claudio’s relationship. He is the villain, but there are much more interesting ways of playing the villain than just “villain.”
Friar Francis – like Romeo and Juliet’s Friar Laurence, but in a different play. Long-winded, well-meaning, somewhat interfering gentlemen who thinks it is a fine idea to make people believe a young girl is dead.
Margaret – A lower-class serving woman. She is honest but not too bright, does not follow social rules well, and has questionable taste in men. (Her lover is Borachio.)
Borachio – An associate of Don John’s. His name means “Drunkard” in Italian… ‘nuf said.
Conrad – Very devoted to Don John.
Dogberry – The Constable of the Night Watch and every Shakespearian actor’s dream role. Very sincere, takes his job seriously, very middle class, and has an unfortunate misunderstanding of the English language. THIS ROLE HAS BEEN CAST.
Vergas – Dogberry’s deputy & the chief policeman in Messina.
The rest of the Watch – A goofy bunch. Some can read & write. All sleuth to solve crimes … badly.
Sexton – in charge of examining the men detained by the Watch, and it is his misfortune that the Watch should be commanded by Dogberry
Antonio – Leonato’s elder brother & Beatrice’s father.
Balthasar – a waiting man in Leonato’s Household and A MUSICIAN. He is a flirt and helps plan pranks. He sings the song “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more” about accepting men’s infidelity as natural.
Boy – Benedick’s not very bright attendant who fetches a book.
Ursula – Hero’s sassy but classy maid.
Beth & Curt Blair
Michael & Judy
Kelly & Michael Beck
Williams Wayne & Terry
Laura Glenn & Stephanie Schwartz
Laura W. Johnson
Julie & Scott Carswell