Theater group hosts 12-hour Shakespeare Fest


12-hour Shakespeare Festival

Audrey Fletcher

With scripts in hand, Kent State students took to the stage Monday in the Erdmann-Zucchero Black Box Theatre to perform 12 hours of William Shakespeare’s works unrehearsed. 

“The Shakes Fest to me is the one day of the year where it’s kind of just a free-for-all in acting,” said Kayla Hendry, a senior musical theatre major. 

Hendry and Kasi Karr, a senior theatre studies and English major, planned the Second Annual 12-Hour Shakespeare Festival hosted by student theatre group Transforum Theatre. The group and other volunteers performed four unrehearsed plays within the time frame. 

Transforum Theatre was started as a theatre collective that would provide a safe environment for students from all majors to experiment with new types of theatre as well as their own creative works. 

Hendry and Karr came up with the idea for the 12-Hour Shakespeare Fest after studying abroad at the University of Leicester, where the Shakespeare festival consists of performances of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays. Hendry and Karr thought about doing a 24-hour festival here at Kent State, but decided 12 hours would be more manageable. 

The Second Annual 12-Hour Shakespeare Fest from on Vimeo.

Last year, the group performed six plays for two hours each and assigned parts ahead of time. This year, Hendry said they decided to do four plays — “Troilus and Cressida,” “Pericles: Prince of Tyre,” “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Macbeth” — at three hours each and wait until that day to assign roles. 

“We’ll just hand (the performers) a script and they will just jump into the show taking over a role,” Hendry said. “The cool thing is a lot of people have never read the plays before…so they’ll literally go in having no clue what’s happening, and they’ll kind of just get thrown into this world.” 

Hendry said she hopes the audience realizes that Shakespeare doesn’t have to be scary and that some of them may get involved. She said last year some members of the audience asked to participate after watching just one of the plays. 

Sophomore theatre studies major Kevin Sigler, who performed in “Pericles,” said the festival was a good way to get together with friends, share some laughs and have a good time. 

“It’s a great way to experiment as far as acting goes, and it’s also an enjoyable way to get cultured through doing Shakespeare,” Sigler said. 

What’s your favorite Shakespeare quote? from on Vimeo.

Karr said although doing cold readings makes her nervous, she enjoyed participating in the festival.

“I just love Shakespeare, and I didn’t used to love Shakespeare,” Karr said, “but the more I read and see Shakespeare, the more I love it.”


Contact Audrey Fletcher at [email protected].