Season of the Bard. By Olin Meadows

Photo Courtesy of The Baron's Men
Photo Courtesy of The Baron’s Men

Austin has long been a patron of one of the greatest play-writes and story tellers in the history of the theatre. Austin’s Shakespeare scene has been fabled as of the best in the country. With icons like Ann Ciccolella of Austin Shakespeare, Beth Burns of the international “Hidden Room” along with the famed “Austin Curtain Theatre” built by video game mogul Richard Garriott, the Austin theatre scene is flooded with the words of the Bard every year.

This year is no exception there are over half a dozen productions, classes, and events involving the works or life of William Shakespeare all happening in the months of February and March. Even the University of Texas is playing host to a production from the award winning New York Shakespeare Center.

With so many productions of Shakespeare every year in the Austin area one would think that patrons would get tired of the ancient works, however that is not the case. What started as one little group of  friends producing a couple of shakespeare’s plays a year, Austin Shakespeare heralded by their fearless leader Ann Ciccolella, has grown into a force to be respected every year winning numerous nominations in the Austin Theatre circles as well as in the Shakespeare world. From here Austin began to fall in love with the Bard and his fanciful language of comedy, tragedy and romance. Blossoming a community of somewhere close to ten different companies that produce  nearly 40 productions of Shakespeare a year. Some of the groups of note are the Hidden Room Theatre that recently produced a production of “Taming of the Shrew” with a classic all male cast as William produced in his day in age. One of the other unique treats of the Hidden Room is that their performances change venues from production to production and sometime ever between performances of the show.

Photo Courtesy of Austin Shakespeare
Photo Courtesy of Austin Shakespeare

The audience never knows where they will be seeing their performance when they purchase tickets. Then there is the Baron’s Men a classic name for a classical shakespearian troupe who through the hands of their benefactor mister Richard Garriott build a 1/3 scale model of the famed globe theatre in London for them to play in. The Curtain Theatre as Mr. Garriott’s Masterpiece is named plays host to many different performing troupes but claims the Baron’s Men as it’s caretakers and leading performers.




Some productions and events to keep you enthralled in the words of the Bard are listed below!


American Shakespeare Center performs Twelfth Night & The Duchess of Malfi

The American Shakespeare Center will return to Austin for its fourth annual visit to the University of Texas campus. Direct from the stage of the American Shakespeare Center’s celebrated Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the ASC touring troupe brings Renaissance drama to life in exciting and accessible performances. On February 12 and 13, at 7:00 pm in Hogg Auditorium, the ASC’s touring troupe will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.

Performances will take place on the UT campus at Hogg Auditorium. Parking is available on the street and at UT’s San Antonio Garage.
Tickets are $15 and $10 for students, as well as UT faculty and staff. They can be purchased online in advance through the Shakespeare at Winedale web site. (

The theatre will open for seating at 7:00 pm. At this time, live pre-show music will also begin. The performance will begin at 7:30 pm. Seats for the performances are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so audience members are encouraged to arrive early, take their seats, and enjoy the music.

AS YOU LIKE IT in Austin & Stratford-on-AvonPresented by Oxford Shakespeare Company

Auditioning now for classes and U.K. trip. Oxford Shakespeare Company (NYC) is enrolling actors in an Austin performance workshop (Feb 11-16), with performances locally (Feb 17) and in Stratford-on-Avon. Trip to London & Stratford (May 22-29). Master classes with RSC legends JOHN BARTON & CICELY BERRY. Video auditions Sept 30-Nov 30. 917-627-2334 or


Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) Presented by Paradox Players at 1st Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

Paradox Players presents the phenomenally popular parody The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at the Howson Hall Theater, February 8 – 24. The play, written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1987, went on to 9 record-breaking years on London’s West End, and has been the world’s most performed stage parody for the last 20 years. In The Complete Works, 3 actors perform hilarious short versions of 7 of Shakespeare’s plays. In a single final frantic skit, the actors present all of the rest of the Bard’s plays in two minutes. Throughout the performance, audience participation abounds.
Guest Director Ben Schave, who is a professionally trained clown, says, “What appeals to me most about The Complete Works is that it’s pure clown theater, with audience interaction, whole and silly characters who’s performance space is a living 360 degree world, and tons of space for physical comedy.”

Photo Courtesy of Paradox Players

Tickets:$15 General Admission, and $10 for Students, Seniors (65+) and groups of 10 or more. The one exception is the February 8 Opening Night Gala, which includes a special reception with refreshments, and for which all tickets are $20. Info Phone: 512-744-1495

Dates: February 8-February 24, 2013

Times: Fridays & Saturdays, 8:00 pm. Sundays, 3:00 pm.


The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare For Kids By Kids  Presented by The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare For Kids By Kids at Austin Scottish Rite Theater

The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company consists of two troupes of
youth players between the ages of 6-13. Our adaptations include a mix of
Shakespearean verse and modern text and focus on the story behind each
Shakespeare play. Through our productions, kids (and adults!) are prepared
for full-length professional productions of the same play. Each spring the
Company’s performance choice matches productions staged by various
professional classical theatre companies in Austin. Thus, families have a
chance to learn the story through the ImprovEd Shakespeare Company and
then can attend the full-length professional production, having a much
better grasp of the language and the drama to unfold. On deck for March:
“The Merchant of Venice” and “A Winter’s Tale.”

Photo Courtesy of The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company Facebook

A judge at the Texas Renaissance Festival likened us to “Our Gang meets
Shakespeare.” In the fall, we were recipients of the East Austin Studio
Tour artistic fellowship. We have performed at the Texas Renaissance
Festival (School Days) and the Sherwood Forest Fair, as well as part of
Austin Shakespeare’s celebration of the Bard’s birthday at Richard
Garriott’s Curtain Theatre. This spring, we are collaborating with Austin
Parks and Recreation, offering a free performance on one of the outdoor
stages. We will also be offering a free evening performance at the
Scottish Rite Theater.
*Sponsored by the Scottish Rite Theater


Poor Shadows of Elysiumpresents   William Shakespeare’s  Richard IIRichard II

February 21st- March 9th 

Thursdays, Friday, Saturdays- 8pm

To be performed at the Curtain Theatre-7400 Coldwater Canyon Drive Austin,TX 78730

Kevin Gates and Aaron Black will play Richard and Bolingbroke, but which actor plays which part will be determined by an onstage coin toss at the start of each performance. 

Directed by Christina Gutierrez

More info and tickets at


Othello Presented by City Theatre of Austin

Othello online imageWilliam Shakespeare’s timeless tale of love, deceit, jealousy and murder. One of literature’s most tragic heroes squares off against his greatest villain in a compelling story of suspicion, betrayal and vengeance. Iago leads Othello to the edge of madness by sowing seeds of doubt about his wife’s fidelity culminating in one of most powerfully dramatic scenes ever written. Its message is not soon forgotten. Directed by Jeff Hinkle and featuring Trevor Bissell, Laura Artesi and Andrew Bosworth. 

February 21 – March 17. Thursday – Saturday 8:00 p.m. Sunday 5:30 p.m. The City Theatre, 3823 Airport Blvd. Suite D. 78722 – east corner of Airport Blvd. and 38 ½ Street. 

For reservations, call 512-524-2870 or e-mail

General seating $15. Front/2nd Row Reserved $25. Thursday all seats $10. Group and student discounts.

The Baron’s Men Presents “The Merchant of Venice” at Richard Garriott’s Curtain Theatre

This April, we invite you to join us as The Baron’s Men present William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Richard Garriott’s Curtain Theater, the only Elizabethan style theater in Austin. In this period-themed production, we embrace and explore the dark and light of the Bard’s well-known tragicomedy, noted as much for its challenging and controversial themes as its entertaining plot and captivating, memorable characters. We approach this play as one in which there are no absolute paragons of virtue, nor are there any unqualified villains. To a varying degree, each character in Merchant demonstrates a capacity for both goodness and vice. Individuals may be prone to contradict themselves, and their actions often belie their words. They see each other through their own unique prisms, and their expressed perceptions and judgments of one another often reflect this bias. All of this makes Shakespeare’s Venice a timeless microcosm of our own world, populated with imperfect people whose natures are as changeable as quicksilver. It is with this appreciation that we undertake these idiosyncratic characters and present them to you. We hope you enjoy our efforts!

Fridays & Saturdays – April 5- 27   Thursdays – April 18 & 25

Box Office opens at 7pm and performance begins at 8pm

 Tickets $15 General Admission, $12 Students and Seniors

All Performances at the Curtain Theatre



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