The 2017 Texas Shakespeare Festival Continues

ben wheeler

“Our only goal is to provide you with high-quality professional productions-a caliber of theatre that is seldom found outside major cities. All of us hope your experience with us, whether it is your first or the latest of many, is not only satisfying but also uplifting, inspiring, and memorable.” -Raymond Caldwell, TSF Founder and Artistic Director

The Texas Shakespeare Festival will be held this year June 29th-July 30th in Kilgore. This year there is a nice variety of productions.


In April 1984, the idea for the Texas Shakespeare Festival was developed: to establish a professional summer theatre for East Texas based in Kilgore that would be housed in the Van Cliburn Auditorium; to create a company with a name that would have broad appeal to professional theatre artists, employing high caliber actors, designers, and directors from throughout the nation; to offer professional actors and theatre students the luxury of working on plays from the world’s storehouse of dramatic literary masterpieces; and to create a regional play about the East Texas oilfield discovery to be produced as a cultural historical memento of the unique and colorful heritage.

Two years later, in June 1986, the Texas Shakespeare Festival opened its inaugural season as Kilgore College’s contribution to the Texas Sesquicentennial celebration with performances of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Daisy Bradford 3” by Gifford Wingate. Each of the fifteen performances played to capacity houses, and the college assured the community that there would be a second season.

The 1987 Festival again performed to sold out houses. In 1988, the Festival added a fourth production and changed to a revolving repertory performance format making it more convenient for patrons to see all of the productions.

The 1989 season followed the same repertory format and included three performances of Charlotte’s Web for children, and just as in all three previous years, the attendance grew. In 1993, to answer the need for more performances, the Festival season expanded its performance schedule from three to four weeks.

More Info

Tickets are available at, by calling (903) 983-8601 (closed on Mondays), or e-mail or Adult tickets range from $20-$33. “The Witch of Pickle Patch” tickets are $8. Your tickets will be held for you at the will-call table where you can pick them up when you arrive for your first performance date.

Texas Shakespeare Festival takes place at Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center in the Van Cliburn Auditorium, 1200 S. Henderson Blvd., Kilgore.

The 2017 Summer Series

“Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare

June 29th, July 6th, July 8th, July 14th*, July 16th*, July 21st, July 23rd, July 27th*, July 29th*

“Much Ado About Nothing” follows the on again/off again love story of two of Shakespeare’s most loveable leads: Beatrice and Benedick. This romantic comedy is filled with biting wit while seeking to unite these old flames, and is perhaps best summed up by the line “some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”

“Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand

June 30th, July 7th*, July 9th*, July 14th, July 16th, July 20th*, July 22nd*, July 27th, and July 29th

First performed by the Festival in 1990 and again in 2005, this play explores the inner conflict of Cyrano, a true renaissance man of many talents who is held back by his self-doubt over his physical attributes- particularly his unusually large nose. This doubt prevents him from expressing his feelings to his one true love.

“Richard III” by William Shakespeare

July 1st, July 7th, July 9th, July 13th*, July 15th*, July 20th, July 22nd, July 28th*, and July 30th*

This historical tragedy features a title character that sends shivers down many spines as he makes a Machiavellian rise to power. The humpback king is “determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days.” His short-lived reign of terror make for a dramatic play with twists and turns that have to be seen to be believed.

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” by Roger Bean

July 2nd, July 6th*, July 8th*, July 13th, July 15th, July 21st*, July 23rd*, July 28th, July 30th

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” by Roger Bean features four women and is very similar in style and structure to “Forever Plaid,” produced by TSF in 2001 and 2002. This delightful show features four-part harmony versions of classic pop songs from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s like “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “It’s My Party,” “It’s in His Kiss,” and “The Leader of the Pack.” If you like nostalgic music, delightful characters, and having a great time—you’ll love this show!

UpStairs Space Production “Did you Hear Thunder?”

July 13th, July 15th, July 18th, July 19th*, July 21st* and July 23rd*

A prose-poem about our solitary journey through Life – the loneliness of searching for connections when we are young, and the aloneness of questioning life’s purpose as we grow old. Four generic strangers (Woman, Boy, Man, and Girl) meet by chance in a public pavilion and share personal confessions in their plea for mutual acceptance and understanding.

“The Witch of Pickle Patch”

July 19th, July 20th, July 21st, July 22nd, July 25th, July 26th, July 27th, July 28th, and July 29th

All performances are at 10am.

After being banned from the town of Pickle Patch, Hazel the witch has a plan to get even with everyone. No one is safe from her wrath as she begins to poison all of the apples in town. But after a surprising act of courage the town learns what it truly means to accept others just as the are. Following his five earlier original scripts for TSF, “Quest for the Lost Chalice,” “The Enchanted Forest,” “The Lost Prince,” “The Princess and the Players,” and “Spirit of the Sea,” Mr. Richards offers the Festival’s youngest patrons yet another delightful and imaginative story that will entertain playgoers of all ages.

*Denotes Matinee 2pm; Evening performances at 7:30pm