Why Palm Beach is a Midsummer Night’s Dream this July

Crowds gather to enjoy the the annual outdoor Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival; 2021's magical programme features 'Twelfth Night' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
Crowds gather to enjoy the the annual outdoor Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival; 2021's magical programme features 'Twelfth Night' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' | Courtesy of Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival
Photo of Nick Dauk
24 May 2021

All the world’s a stage as Palm Beach County, Florida, prepares to showcase the bard of Avon’s early comedies at the annual Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival. Catch A Midsummer Night’s Dream from July 8-18 and Twelfth Night from August 19-29.

What’s happening?

For more than three decades, the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival has hosted its Shakespeare by the Sea series and this year is no exception. Each year, the thespians of Palm Beach County delve deep into the playwright’s vast catalog and bring his plays to life during Florida’s beach town’s halcyon summer months – creating the perfect excuse for you to make a weekend of it, by booking one of Culture Trip’s curated collections of hotels and experiences.

The Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival brings the best of the Bard to Florida | Courtesy of Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival

The main run of performances takes place at the Seabreeze Amphitheater in Carlin Park when Jupiter’s beachfront-hugging park, either side of the A1A, plays host to the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for eight nights this summer. This romantic comedy, where four young Athenians get lost in a fairy-filled forest, will run from July 8-18, taking place Thursday through Sunday nights.

A second series of shows will also run for a limited time in Royal Palm Beach at the Commons Park Amphitheater. This family-friendly green space 15mi (24km) west of Palm Beach Island will welcome thespians for performances of Twelfth Night from August 19-29. You lovers of the stage can watch twins Sebastian and Viola separated by a shipwreck, before shenanigans ensue as each believes the other to be dead.

The Mechanicals perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ | Courtesy of Chuck Andersen

Who’s there?

Though it’s only one of many repertory companies gracing the shores of Palm Beach County throughout the year, the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival holds a special place in the hearts of residents from all over the state.

“I saw the first production of the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival in 1990 when I was a student at Jupiter High School,” said Elizabeth Dashiell, festival co-producer. “I auditioned and was cast in Romeo and Juliet in 2003 and since then I’ve had the pleasure of performing in various productions, as well as the privilege to help produce and oversee the non-artistic aspects of the festival, too.”

macbeth witches three_Courtesy of Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival
POSSIBLE CROP_Stephen Hedger and Kelly Lee Hussey as Antony and Cleopatra - Photo Chuck Andersen
'Othello' performed at Shakespeare by the Sea The witches three in 'Macbeth' Courtesy of Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival Stephen Hedger as Antony in 'Antony and Cleopatra' © Chuck Andersen

Elizabeth’s story is not uncommon. Hundreds of lifelong thespians and theatergoers look forward to the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival each year. The community comes together on and off stage to ensure that this celebration of the English bard enriches South Florida’s arts and culture scene. This year, for the first time, the second round of Twelfth Night shows extends PBSF’s reach further still.

“The Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival has such a long history in the county and we are so honored to bring yet another new, annual tradition to the village of Royal Palm Beach – to share the magic of Shakespeare’s work with our community and theatre-lovers from further afield.”

Don’t miss

Whether your travel dates are star-crossed with the performances in Jupiter or Royal Palm Beach, there’s so much to explore in Palm Beach County beyond your midsummer night with the bard, so why not make a weekend of it?

Lake Trail is a bike-friendly route to take during your visit | © Allen Creative / Steve Allen / Alamy

There’s more to Palm Beach than window shopping on Worth Avenue and marveling at mansions on the bike-friendly Lake Trail. Of the many museums, galleries, and gardens filling West Palm Beach, the Surfing Florida Museum is one of the most unique. Capturing the last half-century of Florida’s surf scene, this extensive archive of photos, stories, and memorabilia showcases the state’s coastal history with a strong focus on Palm Beach County.

Stop at the wine vault on the fourth floor of Restoration Hardware | © ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy

Got a home design project on the horizon when your vacation ends? Visit Restoration Hardware in West Palm Beach. This leading luxury home furnishings purveyor will inspire your next interior (or exterior) redesign, then cordially invite you to envision the completed project over charred ribeye steaks and red wine in their elegant rooftop restaurant.

Keen to make a weekend of it? Browse our curated collection of hotels and experiences available during Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival – bookable here on Culture Trip.

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