Coming Soon: Houston Shakespeare Festival with a Cinematic Twist

The Houston Shakespeare Festival is back this summer with “Shakespeare Night at the Movies.” Five films will be featured each night from Tuesday, Aug. 3 – Saturday, Aug. 7 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The movies are (clockwise l-r): “Henry V,” (1989), photo credit: Swank Pictures; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” (1935), photo credit: Swank Pictures; “Much Ado About Nothing,” (1993), photo credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./ Swank Pictures; “Romeo + Juliet,” (1996), photo credit: Criterion Pictures and “Throne of Blood,” (1957), photo credit: Toho Pictures/Janus Films.

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the curtain is coming up once again on the Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF), and this season has a cinematic twist.  The company has gathered a special lineup of your favorite film adaptations of Shakespeare’s finest works. “Shakespeare Night at the Movies,” produced by the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance, will offer nightly film showings at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre from Tuesday, Aug. 3 through Saturday, Aug. 7.

In year’s past, HSF would pair a Shakespearean drama or history with one of his comedies, but this year, visitors will be treated to five works that cover a full range of Shakespeare’s styles. Grab your loved ones and a picnic basket because there is something for everyone. 

“One way to look at this season of films is that we are starting with two of the classic Kenneth Branagh films, ‘Henry V’ for the serious one; ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ for comedy,” explained Rob Shimko, HSF executive director and theater historian. “Then there’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ starring James Cagney and Olivia DeHavilland for those who favor classic Hollywood; Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Throne of Blood,’ the Japanese adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ for the real serious film buffs. Then we’ll round out the festival with Baz Lurhmann’s stylish ‘Romeo + Juliet’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and its incredible music score.”

Fans will also get to enjoy Shimko’s “Bard Talks” before each showing, providing background on each film. All showings begin at 8:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.  The schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 3: “Henry V” (1989)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 4: “Throne of Blood” (1957)
  • Thursday, Aug. 5: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935)
  • Friday, Aug. 6: “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993)
  • Saturday, Aug. 7: “Romeo + Juliet” (1996)

Shimko stresses that HSF is making plans to re-start the company’s traditional season of live performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre in 2022 with productions of “King Lear” and “Cymbeline.”

The Houston Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1975 by Sidney Berger. It remains the legacy of the UH professor emeritus and longtime director of UH’s School of Theatre and Dance who passed away in 2013. Since its inception, the festival has entertained more than a million Houstonians and attracted national theater talents.

Visit the Miller Outdoor Theatre website

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