Bard Fest, Indy's only annual Shakespeare Festival, was founded by Indiana-based theatre companies to bring a professional-quality, yet intimate Shakespeare festival experience to Hoosier audiences. Through their partnership with regional theaters, Bard Fest is able to not only provide paying work for local area actors, but also provide unique visions under one intimate roof.

Shakespeare is universal. Harold Bloom writes, "Shakespeare is the inventor of what it means to be human." Theater provides a human connection and social commentary like no other art form. The centrality of Shakespeare is that his works speak to everyone and demands society examine itself. To that end, Bard Fest promotes an inclusive policy of color and gender blind casting. When you can see yourself on stage, the words ring more true and we have a greater impact on our world. ​

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It's 1601, the Earl of Essex, lover to Queen Elizabeth I, has been indicted for high treason. On the eve of his execution, the Queen summons Will Shakespeare and his actors to perform. The company must be housed within the royal stables due to a curfew commanded by the Queen to stave off riots in the aftermath of the Essex's scheduled execution at dawn. ELIZABETH REX asks the question, "What would it be like to be in the company of the most powerful ruler in the world and the greatest playwright that ever lived. What would that conversation be like?"