Nashville Shakespeare Festival is joining forces with Kennie Playhouse Theatre, a company that has focused on producing the works of Black playwrights and hiring Black artists for the past 15 years. Summer Shakespeare 2021 will include KPT’s production of August Wilson’s Jitney alongside NSF’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The popular, 33 year-old, annual festival will be live, on the outdoor stage at oneC1TY from August 12-September 12, and outdoors in Franklin from September 16-19. All current COVID-19 safety guidelines will be closely followed.
“We are very excited to share these shows by two master playwrights and hope everybody makes plans to see both of them,” says NSF Artistic Director, Denice HIcks. And Kenny Dozier, new Producer at Nashville Shakes and the Artistic Director of Kennie Playhouse Theatre, says, “Theater has the uncanny ability to change people’s minds.”
This will be the second year that Summer Shakespeare will be in its new location at oneC1TY, Nashville, after a 32-year run in Centennial Park. OneC1TY is located just off the 28th-31st Avenue connector and Charlotte Avenue in Nashville’s Midtown District. The location is home to popular food and drink spots like Avo, The Sandbar, Pastaria, and Sump Coffee, and is the site for the brand new Element Hotel. OneC1TY offers abundant parking in a three-level garage and plenty of blanket and lawn chair space, as well as bleacher seating. Popular food trucks will also be on site.
This year’s productions are August Wilson’s Jitney, a snapshot of Black life in 1977 Pittsburgh through the lens of a tight-knit group of gypsy cab drivers, playing Thursdays- Sundays, August 12-22, at 7 p.m.; and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a comedy of mistaken identity, playing Thursdays – Sundays, Aug 26 – Sept 12 and Labor day Monday at 7 p.m. at oneC1TY, Nashville. Twelfth Night will feature original music by Tom Mason who will portray Feste in the play. Both shows play an encore weekend at Williamson County Performing Arts Center at Academy Park in Franklin, TN from September 16-19.
The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with “INSIGHT,” free scholarly discussions at Sump featuring guest experts on August Wilson and Shakespeare. At 6 p.m. the nightly pre-show concert begins, featuring local entertainment. At 6:45, the children participating in Elf & Fairy camp will perform, followed by the Apprentice Company, leading straight into the main performance at 7 p.m. Food trucks will be on-site and adult beverages will be available for purchase. Dogs on a leash are welcome, and while Twelfth Night is a family-friendly show, Jitney is rated MA for Mature Audiences. The Festival is free, but a $10 donation is strongly encouraged to help us provide the best outdoor theatre experience in Nashville. This year there will also be reserved “Noble” seating available for $40. VIP Royal Packages, which include reserved parking, comfortable reserved seating, and dinner catered by Bacon & Caviar Gourmet Catering, are $100 each and support the Festival’s programming.
Go to ticketsnashville.com to purchase. More information is available at nashvilleshakes.org. The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s programs are funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Metro Arts, and the NEA.