Arts & Culture

Houston Shakespeare Festival returns after two-year absence

William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and “Cymbeline” will be performed alternatively during the festival, which runs through Aug. 6 and is free to attend.

Cultural Affairs
Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive, will host the Houston Shakespeare Festival from July 28 through Aug. 6.

The Houston Shakespeare Festival, an annual series of free, outdoor theatre performances, returns Thursday night and runs through next weekend at Hermann Park's Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive.

It’s the first live performances for the festival since 2019. All shows in 2020 were cancelled due to COVID-19 and 2021 was a film festival instead of live shows.

This year's lineup features two tragedies written by William Shakespeare – "King Lear" and "Cymbeline" – with performances starting at 8:15 p.m. "King Lear" is scheduled to run Thursday and Saturday in addition to Aug. 1, Aug. 3 and Aug. 5, with "Cymbeline" slated for Friday as well as Aug. 2, Aug. 4 and Aug. 6.

There is seating both on the hill at Miller Outdoor Theatre and in its covered audience area, although tickets are required in order to reserve seats in the covered section. They can be reserved online at https://www.milleroutdoortheatre.com/get-tickets/ and will be available beginning at 10 a.m. the day before a performance through noon the day of the show. All unoccupied seats will be made available to attendees five minutes before the beginning of each performance.

Refreshments and picnic supplies can be purchased at the concession stand at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Visitors also are allowed to bring their own food and drinks, including alcohol, as well as blankets and lawn chairs. Glass containers are not permitted, and neither are pets. Smoking is prohibited as well.

Free parking is available at the central parking lot in front of the Houston Zoo, which is near Miller Outdoor Theatre, and at the McGovern Centennial Gardens as well as at Bayou Parkland Pavilion and the Hermann Park Golf Course clubhouse at the northwest corner of Almeda Road and North MacGregor Way. There is a paid parking garage at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. On weekends, paid parking also is available in the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza Garage at the corner of Cambridge and Fannin streets.

The Houston Shakespeare Festival started in 1975 as a collaboration between the City of Houston, which operates Hermann Park, and the University of Houston. All performances are produced by the university's School of Theatre & Dance.

"King Lear," which is being performed at the Houston Shakespeare Festival for the first time in more than 20 years, is billed as an enthralling tale of family loyalty, betrayal and madness. "Cymbeline" is a dark fairytale romance featuring secret plots, forbidden love, mistaken identity and vile poisons, according to the event website.

For more information, visit https://www.uh.edu/shakespeare/.