Arts & Ideas Discussion Series*

Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to present the Arts & Ideas discussion series in partnership with L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. Together, we have curated this set of craft talks to engage anyone and everyone in the community - from those who already love Shakespeare, to those who are maybe a bit intimidated by him, to those who have other interests altogether. Through these discussions, we hope to contextualize Shakespeare and his works, as well as spark conversation and connection in the community. All events in the Arts & Ideas Discussion Series are free and open to the public.

*Funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wisconsin Humanities strengthens our democracy through educational and cultural programs that build connections and understanding among people of all backgrounds and beliefs throughout the state.

Why William?
Tuesday, April 23, 6:00 PM, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

Hosted on World Shakespeare Day, this discussion, led by UWEC English Professor Emeritus Marty Wood, will follow Shakespearean literature’s history, language, themes, and its relevance today, as well as the “Shakespeare experience.”

The Healing Arts
Wednesday, May 22, 6:00 PM, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

“A physician heals a patient, while Art heals a community”

The Healing Arts: How Mayo Clinic Eau Claire collaborated with UWEC to encourage and promote the use of the Arts in healing processes. In acknowledgement of Mental Health Month, this discussion will cover the positive impacts of theatre and the arts on one’s mental health. Facilitated by Dr. Todd Wright from Mayo Clinic Health System’s Healing Arts committee.

The Hollow Crown
Monday, June 24, 6:00 PM,  L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library (Riverview Room)

This discussion will revolve around Eliot Cohen’s book, entitled “The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare on How Leaders Rise, Rule, and Fall,” and what Shakespeare’s plays can teach us about power and modern politics. Facilitated by Adam Kunz, UWEC Assistant Professor of Political Science. This event is sponsored by the Menard Center for Constitutional Studies at UW-Eau Claire.

Know Before You Go
KBYG: Twelfth Night - Saturday, July 6, 10:00 AM, Haymarket Plaza
KBYG: Romeo & Juliet - Saturday, July 13, 10:00 AM, Haymarket Plaza

While anyone is welcome, these discussions about the plots of our two Shakespeare-written mainstage shows are framed specifically for audiences who may feel uncomfortable with or intimidated by Shakespeare. Our speaker will discuss the major plot points, themes, characters, and messages of the play in an accessible manner.

Shakespeare said WHAT?
Saturday, July 20, 10:00 AM, Haymarket Plaza

This presentation discusses the irreverence of Shakespeare prior to our mainstage show, the (also irreverent) play “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again].” Shakespeare’s plays are often thought of as pretentious or incomprehensible - this discussion aims to deconstruct that notion and equip audiences with the skills to understand - and to enjoy! - them.

Post-Performance Cast Talkbacks
Join us after select performances for a free talkback Q&A session with the casts of the shows! All audience members are invited and welcome to stay for this casual meet & greet opportunity. All events will take place in the Jamf Theatre.

  • Twelfth Night - Sunday, July 7, following the 1:30 PM performance
  • Romeo & Juliet - Saturday, July 20, following the 1:30 PM performance
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again] - Saturday, July 27, following the 1:30 PM performance

WSF Craft Talks

Get a peek behind the curtain! Join us on select Sunday mornings at local area coffeeshops for informal chats with various folks whose creative spirits drive the action behind WSF. Hear from the artists who directed the shows; designed technical elements such as costumes, lighting, sound, and projections; workshopped our new works series; and even our traveling young artists’ troupe. All WSF Craft Talks are free and open to the public - though we encourage you to bring some questions and get yourself a delicious cup of joe!

Mainstage directors - Sunday, June 30, 10:00 AM - Shift
Mainstage designers - Sunday, July 7, 10:00 AM - The Goat
Merely Players - Sunday, July 14, 10:00 AM - Coffee Grounds
Improbable Fiction new works team - Sunday, July 21, 10:00 AM - Kahvi


Signature Events

Night of Revels Fundraiser

Save the date for our second annual WSF gala fundraiser! This event gives you exclusive backstage access, as you get the opportunity to dine right alongside our esteemed company of performers and artists who make our Festival come to life onstage. Featuring dinner, drinks, remarks, an intimate Q&A with the WSF team, and a “Twelfth Night” shipwreck theme, this is an event that is not to be missed!

Date: Friday, June 28
Times: 6:00 PM
Location: Jamf Theatre, Pablo Center
Tickets: https://www.axs.com/events/548853/night-of-revels-fundraiser-tickets

Chippewa Valley Theatre Industry Night

Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival strives to celebrate all theatre in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley, so we invite YOU to join us for an “industry night” reception on Saturday, July 20. We welcome you to stop by the Gibson Street Entry at Pablo Center and mingle with each other and the cast/team of Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival, enjoying some free snacks and a cash bar. Folks with any connection to theatremaking (acting, directing, design/tech, orchestra pit for musicals, etc.) at any level (high school, college, community theatre, professional) are welcome to attend! This event is completely free of charge, and open to anyone with ties to local theatre.

Date: Saturday, July 20
Times: 9:00-10:30 PM
Location: Gibson Street Entry, Pablo Center
Admission/Fee: FREE

A Midsummer Night’s Fun Run

While Shakespeare wrote that ‘the course of true love never did run smooth,’ we’re pretty sure this isn’t the kind of running he had in mind! Come take part in WSF’s first-ever fun run - a casual early-evening outdoor event in downtown Eau Claire. With a route that includes downtown bridges and the riverfront trail, this is an active event (with beautiful views!) that the whole family can enjoy. Participants must register by July 9 to guarantee participation. “Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.”

Date: Tuesday, July 16
Times: 6:00 PM
Location: Haymarket Plaza
Admission/Fee: Adult 18+: $25 // Kids 5-18: $10 // Kids 5 & under: FREE
Tickets: https://www.axs.com/events/548856/a-midsummer-nightys-fun-run-tickets

WSF Farewell: ‘Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow’ Ice Cream Party

We invite you to join us for a season-closing celebration filled with music, games, fun, and (of course) ice cream! This family-friendly event is free and open to everyone.

Date: Sunday, July 28
Times: 3:00-7:00 PM
Location: Haymarket Plaza
Admission/Fee: Free!


12 Days of Shakespeare

New for 2024! This two-week-long celebration is fun for the whole community. We've partnered with many other incredible organizations across the Chippewa Valley to move beyond our four walls and support those around us. We hope you'll join us at one or more of the following events and join us in this joyous exaltation of theatre, Shakespeare, and community.

  • Day 1 (Sat, 6/22) - Yoga in the Park (with Shakespeare!)
  • Day 2 (Sun, 6/23) – Poetry Open Mic
  • Day 3 (Mon, 6/24) - Arts & Ideas discussion: "Hollow Crown" 
  • Day 4 (Tues, 6/25) - Shakespeare Night at the Eau Claire Express
  • Day 5 (Wed, 6/26) - UWEC Summer Cinema: "West Side Story"
  • Day 6 (Thurs, 6/27) - Much Ado about Improv
  • Day 7 (Fri, 6/28) - Night of Revels 
  • Day 8 (Sat, 6/29) - Makers’ Market
  • Day 9 (Sun, 6/30) - WSF Craft Talk
  • Day 10 (Mon, 7/1) - We [heart] Art
  • Day 11 (Tues, 7/2) - Shakespeare Day at CMEC
  • Day 12 (Wed, 7/3) - Merely Players @ Farmer’s Market

Yoga in the Park (with Shakespeare!)

Always wanted to try Yoga but didn't know where to start? Or maybe you already love yoga and have been trying to convince others to join you? This is your chance to encourage your friends, family, co-workers (anyone you know that deserves more happiness) to give Yoga a try. This all-levels class is led by Wendy Oberg of The Yoga Room, who has mastered the art of creating an outdoor class that truly is for everyone, seasoned yogis, newbies, 8 years olds and 80-year-olds alike all benefit from this delicious outdoor class.

Joining Wendy’s class this week will be a group of WSF’s mainstage actors - who knows? Maybe they’ll come up with some Shakespearean poses for everyone to try!

Date: Saturday, June 22
Time: 9:00-10:00 AM
Location: River Prairie

Poetry Open Mic Night

Let’s celebrate the art of writing and poetry! All poets and poetry lovers are welcome in this inclusive open mic hosted by Acoustic Cafe and Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival. Bring your words, stop by to get inspired, or just listen. All people and styles of poetry are welcome. Those who attend are eligible to win door prizes, including free tickets to WSF mainstage productions!

Date: Sunday, June 23
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Acoustic Cafe

Shakespeare Night at the Eau Claire Express

“If music be the food of love, play ball!” …isn’t that how the quote goes? Anyhow, this matchup against the Thunder Bay Border Cats won’t be like any other you’ve seen, as we’ve partnered with the Express to Shakespeare-ify the game.

We’ve Shakespeare-themed the between-innings games, will offer discounts for those who come dressed in costume, have WSF ticket vouchers to give away as prizes, and more!

Date: Tuesday, June 25
Time: 6:35 PM first pitch
Location: Carson Park

UWEC Summer Cinema: "West Side Story"

We invite you to enjoy UWEC’s summer cinema series with viewing of the 2021 Steven Spielberg version of “West Side Story.” Based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet,” this blockbuster musical explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Date: Wednesday, June 26
Time: movie starts at 9:00 PM, with activities beginning at 8:00 PM
Location: UWEC campus mall (near Davies Center)
*Event will be moved inside to the Woodland Theater, Davies Center 3rd floor, if rain or inclement weather.

Much Ado About Improv

We are thrilled to partner with Oh Claire Improv to bring you (what we’re pretty darn sure is) the Chippewa Valley’s first-ever Shakespeare-themed improv show! Join us for an evening full of laughs and hijinks, just as ole Willie Shakes would have liked it. No previous experience with (or even admiration of) Shakespeare required.

Date: Thursday, June 27
Time: 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 PM)
Location: Oh Claire Improv (515 Wisconsin Street)
Tickets: $15 - available in advance (ohclaireimprov.com) or at the door

Makers’ Market in the Jamf Globe

We invite you to support local arts and artists - right here in the Jamf on our replica set of Shakespeare’s Globe! The Eau Claire Makers Market seeks to support the arts and music by providing a platform for local artists and musicians to showcase and sell their work, fostering community engagement with the arts and music, and promoting the economic and cultural development of the Chippewa Valley. This market is open to ALL to shop! 

If you’re interested in being a vendor, please apply online at https://www.ecmakersmarket.com/apply 

Date: Saturday, June 29
Time: 12:00-5:00 PM (vendor setup at 11:00 AM)
Location: Jamf Theatre, Pablo Center
Vendor information: Apply online or email ecmakersmarket@gmail.com / $35 vendor booth fee
Admission: FREE & open to the general public

We [heart] Art

Join us for a unique art opportunity at the Paint Shack! We will be using recycled broken glass from our glass buffet to create a unique heart masterpiece. Choose your surface (wood or canvas), size, and colors, and enjoy this 3D art project! Please note these will be ready 2-3 days after the event as we pour an epoxy resin over the top to seal everything to your chosen surface. Great fun for all ages!

Date: Monday, July 1
Time: 6:00-8:00 PM
Location: The Paint Shack, 2524 Golf Rd #2c, Eau Claire
Fee: Starts at $20, customizable - register online at https://thepaintshack.net/

Shakespeare Day at CMEC

Shakespeare is taking over the Children’s Museum! Join us for a day chock-full of theatre activities for kids and families. Throughout the day, we will offer a wide variety of activities for all ages, including arts & crafts, theatre games, and a headlining performance by our Merely Players troupe at 10:30 AM.

Date: Tuesday, July 2
Location: Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, 126 N. Barstow St. Eau Claire
Fee: Free with membership; $11/person day pass for non-members

Merely Players at the Eau Claire Farmers’ Market

Join the Merely Players performing troupe for their first publicly-available performance of the season! This group of young actors will present a shortened and simplified production of a Shakespearean show, followed by a Q&A. This is a great introduction to theatre and Shakespeare for audiences of all ages - we hope that you join us!

Date: Wednesday, July 3
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Phoenix Park, under the clock tower