Our history shall with full mouth
Speak freely of our acts.
The New Mexico Shakespeare Festival began in 2010 as a sumer Shakespeare program called “Will Power” at The Vortex theatre. It was a three-play, nine week season in the theatre, with admission charged. In 2014, The Vortex entered into a collaboration with the City of Albuquerque and moved the festival to Civic Plaza, where it was known as “Shakespeare on the Plaza.” The outdoor setting, while challenging, allowed the plays to breathe the outdoor air as they had in Shakespeare’s time, and as they do in so many summer festivals around the world.
The first summer featured "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet" alternating over four weeks and sixteen performances. Audiences immediately flocked to see these al fresco shows. "I can't think of a better way to spend a summer evening in the Land of Enchantment," said one reviewer. "The outdoor setting encourages people to bring children to see Shakespeare," he continued. "I guess that's why Shakespeare really is for the ages."
In June 2015, the Plaza hosted "Julius Caesar" and "The Taming of the Shrew," again for sixteen shows over four weeks. One reviewer described "Caesar" as "fast-paced, well-performed, and wonderfully staged." Another called "Shrew" "enjoyably balanced" and "thoughtfully directed."
In 2016 the wonderful level of public and private support allowed us to over the plays free of charge. Company and public alike were delighted with the open and community-building spirit which this brought into the festival. The season of "The Tempest" and "Much Ado About Nothing" delighted audiences, which spilled off the stage and onto the plaza. More than 3000 people attended our productions - an attendance record.
In 2017, we enjoyed successful productions of "Macbeth" and "Comedy of Errors."
2018 was a season of comedies, with "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Much Ado About Nothing." Audience records were broken every night.
In 2019, we moved to our new home in the amphitheatre at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park to produce the first season of the New Mexico Shakespeare Festival! This beautiful venue allowed us increased seating capacity (as well as better parking) for our audience, better facilities for our actors, and an unbeatable view of the Sandia mountains against which to perform. We performed "Romeo and Juliet" and "Love’s Labour’s Lost" to enthusiastic crowds.
The second season of the New Mexico Shakespeare Festival will feature performances of "Hamlet" and "Twelfth Night."