The New England Shakespeare Festival, founded in 1994, is a non-profit organization that tours professional performances of Shakespeare's plays throughout the region. We perform in the original, Elizabethan style, staging shows that are exciting, engaging, and stimulating while remaining true to both the letter of the texts and the wonderfully unruly spirit of the Bard's earliest performances.
We believe that Shakespeare's plays are popular - not elitist - entertainment. Our typical audience includes people of all ages and from all walks of life.
In Shakespeare's day the Lord Chamberlain's Men (Shakespeare's troupe) regularly toured to villages and towns. They performed in village squares, meeting halls, and inn yards - any place that was available.
The NESF tours in the Bard's own tradition. We take to the highway to bring performances to communities both large and small. Because we perform in the original, Elizabethan manner - with an emphasis on character, action, and plot instead of special effects, gimmicks, and sets - we can perform almost anywhere, just as Shakespeare's own actors were often called upon to do. Parks, town halls, village greens, gymnasiums, old barns and ballrooms are all perfect venues - any space large enough to accommodate actors and audience.
OUR MISSION is to bring Shakespeare's works to the widest audience possible through professional performances and educational programs that demonstrate the value of the plays as entertainment for people of all ages and from all walks of life.