The Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s mission is to inspire and entertain diverse audiences with evocative, interesting, and epic productions of classical theatre’s greatest plays.
The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a nonprofit professional theatre. Originally named the Jackson Shakespeare Festival, it started in 1995 as an outdoor summer event in Jackson's beautiful Ella Sharp Park. A replica Globe was constructed in 1996, and audiences flocked to experience Shakespeare in Jackson.
New Artistic Director John Neville-Andrews changed the name to the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in 1998, reflecting the growing statewide poularity. Two years later the MSF added members of the Actor's Equity Association, making the event a fully professional Shakespeare company.
In 2003, the festival's growing reputation as a regional classical theatre led Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Senate to designate the MSF "The Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan."
In 2004 the Festival moved to an indoors venue, taking up residence at the Potter Center at Jackson College.
In 2010 Jance L Blixt succeeded Neville-Andrews as the Artistic Director and a third classical play was added to the MainStage Season. At the same time the High School Tour was added, performing for students throughout the year in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
In 2015, the Festival added a three-week run in Canton, MI, at the Village Theatre in Cherry Hill.
Now entering our 25th Anniversary Season, the festival has grown from one weekend to a six week season during July and August.
Since its inception, the summer festival has entertained more than 85,000 patrons.
As the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a professional Equity theatre company (LOA/LORT) dedicated to producing world-class classical plays. Now in preparation for our 25th Anniversary Season, we perform in Jackson's lovely Baughman Theatre, and Canton's beautiful Village Theatre of Cherry Hill.