Wilmington offers quality theater on the house.
To see a Shakespeare play in London, England, in the 1600s, you paid a penny to go to the Globe Theatre. To see a Shakespeare play in Wilmington this summer, it won’t cost a cent at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.
Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green began 20 years ago, when Dr. Stan Norman, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, wanted to give people the opportunity to attend a free Shakespeare festival. In 1993, he helped organize the first production of Cape Fear Shakespeare, As You Like It, performed on the lawn of the de Rosset House. The next weekend, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed at the Greenfield Amphitheater, kicked off a tradition that became the largest free Shakespeare festival in the Southeast.
This year’s production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in honor of the 20th anniversary, and Twelfth Night, performed by the Shakespeare Youth Company. Cherri McKay, managing producer, has been involved in the festival since the beginning.
Donations fund the festival, sustaining it for 20 years. Even the city recognizes the importance of the weekend — Wilmington has agreed to let the festival use the amphitheater in May and June every year.
“Every year we hope for the best and just keep pushing,” McKay says. “Where else can you pack a picnic and come to the theater for free?”
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
1941 Amphitheater Drive
Wilmington, N.C. 28401
Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for early picnic seating.
All performances begin at 8 p.m.
See A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
June 1-3; June 8-10; June 15-17;
June 21-24; June 28-30; July 1
See Twelfth Night:
June 5-7; June 11-14.
Julia Sayers is an editorial intern at Our State.