Good morrow, fair folk! As William Shakespeare once wrote, “After so long grief, such festivity!” as the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival returned to Downtown Denver on Friday, Apr. 30 2021.
The festival – celebrating 37 years of everything Shakespeare – took place with entirely virtual performances in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of its importance is helping kids find something that they might really enjoy. And giving people that opportunity to express that,” said Kylie Williams, a sophomore at DSA.
In 2021, with increasing access to vaccines and less restrictive health guidelines, the DPS Shakespeare Festival organized a limited in-person program and press conference at the Seawell Ballroom, located at the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC). While most performances (totaling well into the hundreds, all of which are posted on the DPS Shakespeare Festival website) took place virtually this year, eight DPS students from schools across the city had the opportunity to perform a live, streaming rendition of a scene from The Comedy of Errors.
“It’s just surreal,” said Ben Feldman, a sophomore at Denver School of the Arts (DSA) who performed at the Seawell. “Being here, being able to perform… it just brings me so much joy. And just being able to go out there and, you know, goof off. Not take myself too seriously!”
The DPS Shakespeare Festival typically draws 5,000 to the DPAC atrium in Downtown Denver.
“I really, truly fell in love with the theater, and Shakespeare, during this festival. And it was a life-changing moment for me. It really was,” said Ethan Hutsell, a junior at DSA.
Event organizers announced that in 2022, live performances should once again be able to take place at the DPAC.
“It’s even better when I get to interact with the other actors in person. It makes it way more fun. And it makes me act my character even better,” said Jose Ambriz, a senior at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy. “I sure hope that every, every single student – even the little kids – gets their chance to perform the character they want to be. That’s what I’m hopeful for. I’m hopeful that everyone could return to normal and be who they are.”