Renaissance Festival Holds 450th Birthday Celebration for Shakespeare at the Festival

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All season long, the Festival will be celebrating Shakespeare, ending with a Shakespeare Competition at the end of September.

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One of the most brilliant minds of the time period, Shakespeare, is right at home at the festival. For his 450th birthday, the Festival is throwing a season-long celebration in his honor. Join them for competitions, interactive performances and everyone’s favorite Shakespeare characters roaming through the streets.

To mark the event, King Henry invites all to participate in the new Shakespeare Competition. To enter, aspiring competitors film themselves performing their selected monologue and upload the video to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival Shakespeare Competition event page on Facebook starting Aug. 20. Monologues can be chosen from a select list available on the event page. The deadline for submission is Sept. 14. The top 20 performers will be invited to the final weekend of the Festival, Sept. 27 and 28, to compete on the Pavilion Stage for prizes and the roar of the crowd. After the competition, all patrons are invited to join in the birthday celebration and indulge in a slice of cake.

The most seasoned Shakespearean actors of the renowned Words Players Theatre are bringing their talents to the Realm. See SkyVault Theatre on-stage as they perform Shakespeare for a modern audience with lively music and fanfare all season. Full of rowdy performers, this isn’t Shakespeare for sitting still! Escape Shakespeare that’s confined to a book’s pages and feel the great stories and emotions pour out onto the stage in live performances daily on the Witchwood Stage. Filled with fairies, swordfights and laughter, the 30-minute productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night” and a compilation show in an authentic Renaissance setting are sure to be a treat.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” A quote immortalized in the pages of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” this sentiment is the inspiration behind the new entertainment troupe, Merely Players, premiering at the 2014 Minnesota Renaissance Festival. In a form of guerilla theatre, entertainers will be performing scenes from 13 of people’s favorite Shakespeare works in the streets at random, culminating in an exhilarating swordfight from “Romeo and Juliet” on the Pavilion Stage. Those who are lucky may even spot the elusive Hamlet. The Merely Players are sponsored by Frantic Impact Theatre and can be found gallivanting around Shepherd’s Green and Irish Cottage.

Hangin’ with the Bard uses the game of hangman to reveal common phrases that people still use today that originated within the lines of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Located just across the road from the Bakery Stage, resident experts Rosie Krantz and Guildenstern just may surprise guests on how much they really know about the Bard of Avon.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival’s 44th season began on Aug. 16 and ends on Sept. 28. The Festival is open weekends; Labor Day and Festival Friday, Sept. 26, open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., rain or shine. The Festival is located five miles south of Shakopee on Hwy 169. Festival patrons can enjoy 16 stages of live entertainment, 250 artisan vendors and 7 theme weekends, full combat jousting and food fit for a king. Admission at the gate: Adults $22.95; Children 5 – 12 $13.95; seniors $20.95; 4 and under are free. Discount tickets are available at participating Menards, Super America, Whole Foods and Walgreens. Coupons towards admission are available at participating Subway and Papa Murphy’s locations. Visit or call 952.445.7361 for more information.

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Debra Schaber
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