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Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Official Website
Box Office Phone
(816) 531-7728
About Theatre


To make the works of Shakespeare and Shakespeare-inspired works accessible to a diverse audience through a free, professional, outdoor festival, and additional free and paid performances and educational programs.

Description of Organization

The Festival was founded in 1991 by Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Marilyn Strauss, and launched its first season in 1993. Since then, more than 700,000 theatergoers from 42 states and 11 countries have enjoyed the Festival's professional productions, which are donation only. Support for the Festival is provided by the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund, Missouri Arts Council, KCMO Parks and Recreation, ArtsKC Fund, a host of leading foundations and corporations, and hundreds of generous individuals. Information on the Festival can be found at www.kcshakes.org or by calling 816.531.7728.

Now in its 26th year, HASF's core activity is an annual production of a Shakespeare play or plays, presented FREE to the public at Southmoreland Park, located directly west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Festival continues to introduce Kansas City audiences to the broad range of Shakespeare's works, while being attuned to community tastes and interests.

In addition to presenting a high-quality professional production or productions of Shakespeare or Shakespeare-inspired plays each summer, the Festival also performs in collaborations with other arts organizations including the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet, Bach Aria Soloists and Kansas City Chorale in addition to offering some indoor productions and script-in-hand performances.

School year in-school and weekend workshops for young people ages 5 – 18 are offered as well as summer camps for youth, throughout the metro area and in Weston, MO. Adult education offerings include professional acting workshops and Speakers Series which showcase different elements of Shakespeare’s works.

In summer 2017, the Festival produced Hamlet in conjunction with our 25 for the 25th event series. The professional production broke attendance records with an audience of 28,174. Our education programs served 9,911 young people and families. The Festival also provided key education and programming during our 25 for the 25th endeavors reaching 5,079 people with a total of 43,164 individuals served in our 25th season.  The Festival welcomed patrons from 12 different states in 2017, including: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas.