The Bard is back

Beloved Shakespeare festival stages dramatic return to Miller Outdoor Theatre with 2 regal shows

Beloved Shakespeare festival stages return to Miller Outdoor Theatre

Houston Shakespeare Festival
The beloved festival returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo courtesy of University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance
Houston Shakespeare Festival
UH performers star in the productions. Photo courtesy of University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance
Houston Shakespeare Festival
Expect a lively show.  Photo courtesy of University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance
Houston Shakespeare Festival
Love is in the air. Photo courtesy of University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance
Houston Shakespeare Festival
Houston Shakespeare Festival
Houston Shakespeare Festival
Houston Shakespeare Festival

Houstonians knows summer means shows under the stars at Miller Outdoor Theatre, with showcases of dance, theater, and eclectic performing arts groups from across the city and around the world. 

Next week, one of Houston's most-respected, well-loved and home-grown arts festivals is back on the Miller stage. The 48th season of the Houston Shakespeare Festival runs July 28 through August 6. This year's HSF includes productions of King Lear and Cymbeline, running in repertory.

King Lear will be performed July 28, 30, and August 1, 3, and 5. Cymbeline will take the stage July 29 and August 2, 4, and 6. All performances begin at 8:30 pm and admission is free of charge. 

The Houston Shakespeare Festival is produced by the University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance.

“First and foremost, I'm looking forward to presenting our first live Houston Shakespeare Festival since 2019," said Rob Shimko, HSF executive director and director of the School of Theatre & Dance in a press release announcing the festival. "In 2020 we had to cancel our season due to COVID, and then last year we put on a Shakespeare film festival that was a lot of fun, but not the same as presenting two live plays to our audience. Beyond that, we've assembled a cast of amazing actors as well as a truly outstanding design team. This year's dynamic productions of King Lear and Cymbeline will make audiences feel that HSF is back at full force.”

The drama King Lear is the story of an aging king who accidentally disowns the wrong child as he's dividing his estate. Exploring family loyalty, madness, and betrayal, it's one of Shakespeare's most-enduring masterpieces.

Cymbeline, meanwhile, explores the adventures of Princess Imogen and her banished secret husband. With a fairytale vibe, there's a wicked stepmother (natch), a goofy stepbrother, and the powerful King Cymbeline. Secret plots, forbidden love, and mistaken identity round out the romp. 

Founded in 1975, the Houston Shakespeare Festival has drawn more than a million theater-goers and served as a showcase for some of Houston's finest actors, while also attracting national actors and artists to the city. This year, look for incredible set designs and top-flight talent.

"Both of these plays have a large number of wonderful roles, which is giving all of the performers great lines to say and events to experience – big battles, some of Shakespeare's most resonant lines," said Smiko. "These plays will be a great way for us all to return to Miller Outdoor Theatre.”

Tickets to the covered seating area for King Lear and Cymbeline are free, but should be reserved in advance on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website two days prior to showtime. No tickets are necessary for seating on the hill.

For those who can't make the shows, livestreams of both productions will be available here