Shakespeare Festival St Louis - Production History

Our Mission

To produce professional Shakespeare theatre,
culminating in a free production in Forest Park, and
to celebrate both Shakespeare’s language and the artists he has inspired.

We present Shakespeare and works inspired by Shakespeare. We are in the Schools, in the Streets, and in the Park. Our work seeks to better the community, facilitate a diverse conversation, and encourage collaboration across disciplines.

Our History

Inspired by R. Crosby Kemper, III, the idea of a free Shakespeare festival began in 1997, and with broad civic support Shakespeare Festival St. Louis received 501(c)3 status in December 1999.

In 2001, after three years of planning and preparation, first Managing Director Lana Pepper, along with Chairman of the Board Marvin Moskowitz and a visionary Board of community leaders, produced the first annual free Shakespeare festival in Forest Park. Since the initial two-week run that attracted 33,000 audience members, the Festival has grown into a year-round institution producing over 250 public performances annually for nearly 100,000 patrons and students.

Today the Festival is recognized as an arts and culture leader and has received numerous awards including “Best Theatre Company,” “Most Innovative Arts Organization,” and Exemplary Community Achievement from the Missouri Humanities Council. In January 2015, the Festival received the Arts and Education Council’s Excellence in the Arts Award.


The Winter’s Tale
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Antony and Cleopatra
Henry IV & Henry V
Twelfth Night
The Taming of the Shrew
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Tragedy of Richard III
Much Ado About Nothing
Julius Caesar
The Tempest
As You Like It
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Romeo and Juliet

Our Values

Since 2001, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has offered free, accessible theatre that is guided by and dedicated to our community. As our mission states, our work seeks to better the community, facilitate conversation, and encourage collaboration across disciplines. We are taking this moment to re-affirm our commitment to telling stories that reflect the diverse cultures and voices of St. Louis, our nation, and our world.

There is no place for hate, bigotry, or intolerance in our theatre. We will continue to welcome people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, backgrounds, and countries of origin to our artistic space. With this statement we are sharing and deepening a commitment to finding our common humanity both on and off stage. We invite you to join us.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization. Contributions are eligible for tax deduction to the limit allowable by law. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ tax identification number is 43-1815139.