The Big Payback: Help us raise $3,000 to put NSF in more schools


Tomorrow, starting at 12 AM, is the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee‘s The Big Payback! Heard of it (or haven’t) and aren’t exactly sure what it is? Think of The Big Payback as a citywide competition in which there are no losers. Starting 12 a.m. Tuesday, May 5, nonprofit organizations within 40 Middle Tennessee counties have exactly 24 hours to man phones, host rallies, fire off Tweets and refresh Facebook like crazy in a bid for supporters to fill their warchests. The organizations large and small that raise the most money overall will receive a $7,500 grand prize, with 11 additional prizes of $2,500 awarded every few hours. (Corporate and individual sponsors supplied the prize money.)

For us at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, it’s an opportunity to raise much-needed funds, $3,000 to be exact, to support our educational outreach programming, including our annual High School Shakespeare Festival. The Second Annual High School Shakespeare Festival, held April 18th, 2015, included Pope John Paul II High School, Nashville School of the Arts, Hillsboro High School, Pearl Cohn High School, and Maplewood High School, and was funded in part by the 2014 Big Payback. Coordinated by Nashville Shakes, students and teachers from these area high schools came together for a full day of theater workshops and Shakespeare performances, all for free!

Two easy ways to get involved:

1.  We are asking our friends and supporters to remember to donate to us between the hours of 12 am and 12 pm on May 5th, to help us raise this $3,000. Whether you give $10, $25, or $1000, any amount can help us reach our goal. All donations can be made through this link:

2.  Help spread the word about the Big Payback. Copy and paste the below messages to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and share the news with friends:

Help support The Nashville Shakespeare Festival in its goal to to raise much-needed funds to support their educational outreach programming! Participate in the #BigPayback and donate May 5 between 12 am and 12 pm at

The countdown is on for The #BigPayback! Give to @nashvilleshakes on May 5 and help bring Shakespeare to area schools! #cfmt

The #BigPayback is here! Give to @nashvilleshakes TODAY and help bring Shakespeare to area schools! #cfmt

Thank you so much for all your support! We’ll see you online!

Students from 5 area high schools participated in the 2015 High School Shakespeare Festival, funded, in part, by the 2014 Big Payback.

Students from 5 area high schools participated in the 2015 High School Shakespeare Festival, funded, in part, by the 2014 Big Payback.

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Join us for InsideOut of the Lunch Box on November 20



InsideOut of the Lunch Box
November 20, 2014
TPAC’s Polk Theater [map]
Free Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m.
Program is from Noon – 1:00 p.m.

InsideOut of the Lunch Box is a lunchtime series sponsored by Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Education that includes enlightening panel discussions, performance excerpts, and a free lunch and we’re honored to be the selection for November!

Join us on Thursday, November 20th, at TPAC’s Polk Theater for a “look in” at what happens behind the scenes at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. NSF Artistic Director Denice Hicks will be joined on stage by actors Emily Landham (Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It), Amanda Card (As You Like It), Santiago Sosa (As You Like It, Twelfth Night) and Nat McIntyre (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, As You Like It), as she leads a discussion about the beauty, comedy, and relevance of the Bard right here in Music City. Those that attend will also have a chance to win tickets to see our Winter Shakespeare 2015 production of Twelfth Night. Free lunch and free tickets? Sounds like a great deal to us!

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: You must register to receive a complimentary lunch. Free box lunches will be provided for the first 300 people to respond. You must RSVP by Tuesday, November 18, to receive a free lunch.

Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. / Program is noon to 1:00 p.m.

>> RSVP Here <<

 See you on November 20th!

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A Shakespeare Halloween

All you need is a sheet and a crown and voilà, you’re the Ghost of Hamlet’s father! Photo by Brenda Sparks

The end of October is upon us! And for many of us, this means Halloween. While some of you have had your costume planned for weeks or even months, there are others out there (like some of our staff) who are just now realizing that Halloween is tomorrow(!) and are scrambling to orchestrate the perfect costume. It’s at times like these, we like to turn to our old friend William Shakespeare for some last-minute costume inspiration. From Athenian nobles to fairies to Italian lovers, Shakespeare has someone for everybody. And inspiration for many can be found in your own closet or pieced together from the costumes of years past. You don’t need to go full-on Elizabethan to build a Shakespeare-inspired costume, but do make sure to bring the theatrics. Your fellow party-goers will approve.

Here are just a few ideas for a great Shakespeare-inspired Halloween. Continue reading

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Nashville Shakes to Perform at Southern Festival of Books October 12

2014 SFB ArtOne of our favorite things about living in Nashville is the great variety of cultural events. As a company who takes our name from one of the most influential playwrights of the our time, one of our favorites takes place this weekend, October 10-12 at the Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville. The Southern Festival of Books is a free event that offers “readers and writers an opportunity to interact, and create a public community that promotes and celebrates the joy of reading and of lifelong learning.” In short, if you love books, reading and writing, this Festival is for you.

Each year the Festival brings about 250 of the nation’s and region’s finest authors to Nashville. There are mystery writers, acclaimed bestselling and debut novelists, poets, biographers, chefs and children’s authors. Every author on the program takes part in a session, either a solo reading or a panel discussion, followed by a book signing in the Author Signing Colonnade. Books by all the participating authors are available for sale at Festival book sales area, where proceeds support the Festival.

There’s also entertainment throughout the weekend. The Chapter 16 Stage highlights readings and other literary performances. The Café Stage features music by some of the area’s most talented songwriters and poets. Children events take place on the Youth Stage, with appearances by favorite characters, musicians, artists, and storytellers.

books1-1This year, we at Nashville Shakes are excited to be a part of the entertainment portion of the festival. On Sunday, October 12, from 1:00 – 1:45 pm, we will be presenting “Shakespeare and Songs” on the Artober Nashville stage at War Memorial Plaza in Downtown Nashville. Brian Russell and Denice Hicks will present scenes and monologues from the best of the Bard and Randy Lancaster will share a few of Shakespeare’s songs he has put to music. So come out to the plaza, grab lunch at a food truck and lend us your ears!

Nashville Shakes is proud to partner with Artober Nashville and the Southern Festival of Books this year, and would love to see you out on the Plaza. We’ll also be a friendly ear to share all your fantastic author moments with.

See you down there!

For more information, including schedule and visiting authors, visit the Tennessee Department of Humanities website.

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All the World’s a Stage: Shakespeare Intensive at the Theater Bug

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Do you know an aspiring young thespian? Perhaps you are even the proud parent or grandparent of one! Well Metro Nashville Public School’s Fall break is coming up next week and we have the perfect way for them to spend … Continue reading

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What’s Cooking at the Park: 9/11 – 9/14


It’s time for the fifth weekend of Shakespeare in the Park! This sadly means that you have only 4 chances to come out to the park and catch the show so best make the most of it! The weather is looking beautiful so pack up your picnic blankets and your family and come on out to Centennial park. If you need a few incentives, we’ve come up with a list of 7 reasons why you should come out to the park, including David Olney and some bluegrass music. Who else is gonna be there? Lots of fun people, a few dogs and some great vendors and talented musicians.

Here’s what’s cooking this weekend: Continue reading

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David Olney, Bluegrass and Puppies: 7 Reasons to see Shakespeare in the Park


Thank you for making this summer of Shakespeare such a successful and memorable summer. We’ve performed before representatives from Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, in the rain, and even had one particularly memorable performance in Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt. As You Like It will soon take its final bow, but don’t shed those tears yet! You have one more weekend to stretch out under the stars at the Centennial Park Bandshell and bid  Shakespeare in the Park and summer farewell!

So here are a few reasons why you should grab your lawn chairs (or picnic blankets) and head to the park:

1. It’s free!

All performances of As You Like It are offered free to the public. Nashville is one of only about 10 U.S. cities that still have a summer outdoor Shakespeare festival, where anybody and everybody can show up to enjoy a performance without paying a cent. We do ask for a $10 donation (so we can keep bringing affordable Shakespeare to you), but if you can’t pay, we won’t turn you away. Shakespeare for everybody!

Photo by Rick Malkin / NSF

Photo by Rick Malkin / NSF

2. It’s fun!

As You Like It with guitars, banjos, ukuleles and a little contra dancing? This is not a stuffy, pretentious production of Shakespeare. In the words of Nashville Scene Theater Critic Martin Brady “”Where Shakespeare in the Park is concerned, this summer’s extravaganza, As You Like It, ranks up there with the folk-friendliest of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s annual efforts. …the show takes on the flavor of the Bard meets O Brother, Where Art Thou?, with a lively cast energetically conveying the spirit of director Denice Hicks’ reimagined 1930s setting.” In other words: It’s a thing of joy not to be missed!

Which leads us to: Continue reading

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