summer at ISF
Each summer, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) produces a selection of Shakespeare-related shows at their luscious and welcoming grounds in Bloomington, Illinois. Their rounded, open-air performance space is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, and features their main stage productions, which this summer will be The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Much Ado About Nothing, and King Lear.
Featuring U of I talent is a mainstay for the festival and this year is no different. Faculty member Lisa Gaye Dixon has a long history with ISF and is excited to be returning to direct Much Ado About Nothing. “Getting to work on a great script and a great role at an internationally renowned theater with some fantastic actors is already a plus,” said Dixon in an interview with Illinois State University, the home of ISF. “But it is also humbling as a teacher at a professional theater training program to practice what I preach to my students.”
ISF’s 2022 season features an abundance of U of I Theatre department talent including faculty, current students, and alumni. Talent includes:
- Lisa Gaye Dixon, Faculty: Director (Much Ado About Nothing)
- Brandon Burditt, Actor, MFA 2022: Benedick (Much Ado), Edgar (King Lear)
- Rachael Fox, Actor, MFA 2022: Goneril (King Lear)
- Jessica Sojourner-Turner, Actor, BFA 2012: Beatrice (Much Ado), Regan (King Lear)
- Jaylon Muchison, Actor, BFA 2024 : Intern (various roles)
- Kashara Bennett, BFA Theatre Studies 2024: Assistant Director (Much Ado, King Lear)
- Jose Diaz, Scenic Design Faculty, MFA 2015: Much Ado, King Lear
- Emma Brutman, Scenic Design, MFA 2022: Assistant Scenic Designer (Much Ado, King Lear)
- Henson Keys, Faculty Emeritus, King Lear (King Lear), Verges (Much Ado)
The season includes a handful of shows geared for children through their Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) program. This program condenses and rewrites the main stage productions in an effort to share the stories and characters of Shakespeare’s plays in a more accessible form. The Urbana Free Library is hosting a performance of the TYA programs at Boneyard Creek Crossing on July 17 at 3:00 PM (see: Young Artist’s Studio: The Illinois Shakespeare Festival).
To learn more about ISF and get tickets for their productions, visit the Illinois Shakespeare Festival website.