"Good luck with the festival. My first Shakespeare play was 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the woods below Eliot College. I was Bottom and Princess Anne supplied the donkey. Very best of luck."
Tom Wilkinson, 2015
Alumnus of the University of Kent

Canterbury Shakespeare Festival | Tickets available here!
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The Vision of the Festival

Canterbury has long been associated with one of England’s finest literary talents. We rightly celebrate the fact that the characters from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales finish their pilgrimage here in the city.

But we believe that there is room to celebrate another of England's literary sons here in the city. Writing some two hundred years after Chaucer, William Shakespeare produced work which expresses the human condition in the most profound way. His plays still speak to us four hundred years after his death.

This leaves us with the challenge of where to stage our plays. Looking around the city, we are constantly reminded of Canterbury’s literary and ecclesiastical connections, but there is also a great deal of natural beauty here. Ours is a city full of green spaces as well as history.

Taking these factors together, it seems right to honour both the bard and the beauty of our city, by staging some of his works outside in the open air. This vision is the driving force behind the Canterbury Shakespeare Festival, which will continue this year in July and August after the huge success of our two shows Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, last year was so successful that this year we have doubled the number of productions that will be produced.

Come and join us as we celebrate Shakespeare in the open spaces of our city this summer.

Benjamin J Chamberlain

Creative Director
Canterbury Shakespeare Festival

Festival Patrons
Andy and Ruth Chamberlain
Ben Chamberlain
Edie Walwyn
Lorraine Darke

Community Engagement

Canterbury Shakespeare Festival doesn’t just offer a summer programme of high quality performances. We are also committed to providing a range of other opportunities, through which the community can get involved with and learn about ours and the Bard’s work. We believe that in doing so; we can help foster a shared love of and enthusiasm for one of the most historically significant, and profoundly talented literary figures to emerge from this part of the world in the last four (just over, in fact) centuries. His influence doesn’t stop just south of the Thames!

Although our previous efforts have mostly been in school outreach, we are eager to work with a number of community partners to create exciting events in and around Canterbury. If you would like to know more, or discuss the possibility of working with us, please get in touch at info@canterburyshakespeare.co.uk and we’ll see what we can do.


Tickets available here!

As You Like It

29th (7pm), 30th (2pm & 7pm) 31st (2pm) July at Eliot Cloister Garden, University of Kent

“All the world’s a stage…”
As You Like It, 2.7

Exiled from her home, Rosalind escapes with her cousin to the Forest of Arden, only to find the man she loves there as well. Coincidently, she is disguised as a man. Featuring a melancholic lord, a knowing fool, a deposed duke, a love-sick shepherd and a flock of sheep, As You Like It explores love, gender and freedom in all its complexities.


FREE performance, no need to book

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th August (all performances 6pm) at Norman Castle, Castle Street

“Something wicked this way comes.”
Macbeth, 4.1

Ambition, greed and history combine to make this production of Shakespeare’s ‘unspeakable’ Scottish play a night of unmissable tragedy. Set within the grounds of the historic Norman Castle in the centre of Canterbury, witness the bloodthirsty Macbeth's as their unending search for glory sets them on a path of self-destruction.

The Merchant Of Venice

5th (7pm), 6th (2pm & 7pm) 7th (2pm) August at Greyfrairs Garden, Stour Street

“If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
The Merchant of Venice, 3.1

A production of Shakespeare's black comedy, involving a reneged deal with possibly fatal consequences, a sympathetic villain who may not be all he seems, a pound of flesh that has to come from somewhere and a few love stories (some comic, some tragic, all romantic).

Twelfth Night

12th (7.30pm), 13th (3.30pm & 7.30pm) 14th (3.30pm) August at The Canterbury Tales, St Margaret's Street

“If music be the food of love, play on.”
Twelfth Night, 1.1

One of Shakespeare’s most well-known comedies, exploring the pain of unrequited love, satire and mistaken identity, all highlighted by beautiful verse and songs. It follows the journey of Viola, who has been shipwrecked and separated from her brother, as she meets a love-sick duke, mourning lady, scheming drunk, vain pedant, musical fool and cunning maid.

2015 Productions

A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Lord, what fools these mortals be... "
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3.2

Shakespeare weaved three interconnecting plots together to give us the heady mix that is A Midsummer Night's Dream. The bard effortlessly throws together commoners and aristocracy, lovers unrequited and comic, and the worlds of men and faeries. A delightful entertainment for a summer evening.

Romeo and Juliet

"Some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date with this night's revels... "
Romeo and Juliet, 1.4

If there's ever a Shakespeare play that gets under the radar and strikes us in the heart, it must surely be his early romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. This poignant, tragic tale of star-crossed lovers is ia potent mix of politics, testosterone, and beautiful, doomed love.

The Team

Ben Chamberlain

Creative Director

Ben is a Religious Studies student at Kent. He stumbled upon the idea of Canterbury Shakespeare Festival and is looking forward to watching the project grow. He is passionate about Shakespeare and believes it can bring many elements of the community together so they may engage with a shared love of the Bard.

Tom Clare

Festival Secretary

Tom is a Drama student who is addicted to performing and facilitating it for others. He believes the joy of performing and watching Shakespeare should be enjoyed by everyone and has been overjoyed to see the Festival grow and be an integral part of it.

Jamie Harris

Community Outreach

Jamie is a Master's student at UKC. He is a fierce champion of not only the Festival's vision of bringing its community together in a mutual love of the Bard's work, but also of engaging young people with both Shakespeare and theatre in general. He is dedicated to finding creative ways to grow the Festival and increase its exposure, by reaching out to as great an audience as possible.

Camilla Eriksen

Festival Production Manager

Camilla is a third year Art History student at UKC. Having great faith in what the festival stands for and how it can bring people together with a shared love of Shakespeare and community, she is very excited for this year and to be able to help it grow and flourish, while still making sure that everyone involved is safe and having a great time.

Jordan Coverdale

Publicity Officer

Jordan is in charge of the Festival's marketing strategy. By building upon the basis of its first year, he is engaged in harnessing innovative ways to broaden the Festival's reach. Involving the whole community is key to what CSF sets out to achieve and ensuring this is the case is pivotal to his role.

Phoebe Heath-Brown

Designer and Digital Marketer

Phoebe is a Multimedia, Technology and Design student with a passion for website design, computer science and marketing. A recent addition to the committee, Phoebe hopes to be able to help shape the Festival into its best possible form, bringing the magic of Shakespeare and live performance to as many people as possible.

Philip Hunt

Chief Financial Officer

Philip is an English Literature student at the University of Kent and the Financial Officer for the festival. He directed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the festival’s inaugural season and is excited for the festival’s continued growth. He has a particular interest in the academic study of early dramatic texts and the plays in performance, and the teaching of both in context.

Emma Murton

Company Manager

Emma is an experienced musician and manager with a passion for Shakespeare. Working for the Festival as Company Manager she ensures the happiness of all personnel involved with the Festival, something that is an important part of our constitution alongside providing excellent customer service for our patrons.



Ticket Prices:

Tickets will be available to purchase from this website and cost as follows:
Full Price: £10
Concessions: £8
Groups (4+): £7.50 per person
There will be no additional booking charge. Mutliple ticket discounts for purchasing four or more tickets will be available. You will receive confirmation of your purchase and your tickets by email. A festival ticket will also be available which will cost £20


Please note, you will have to bring proof of eligibility with you to the performances. Concession tickets are available to those under 18 years of age, students, senior citizens, unemployed and those who are registered disabled.


There is no reserved seating available for any of the Festival’s performances. There will be a limited number of chairs at each venue, made available on a first come, first served basis. If you or one of your party has particular need of a chair, please email ahead or let one of the stewards know as soon as you arrive.
We invite audiences to bring their own blankets and picnic/camping chairs, in addition to food and drink to enjoy throughout the performances, in order to fully take advantage of the alfresco theatre experience. Please remember to dispose of any rubbish responsibly, and bring appropriate clothing for an outdoor event.

We kindly request that no reviews be written or published without the Festival's consent. This is in respect of the commitment and hard work of all those involved in the Festival, which is entirely voluntary.

Audiences are advised to arrive no later than 10 minutes before a performance (6:50pm for evening performances, for a 7:00pm start; 1:50pm for matinees, for a 2:00pm start), in order to find suitable seating and settle in before the shows.
Yes, in fact it is encouraged! However, please remember to dispose of any rubbish responsibly.
A parental advisory warning will be attached to any performance that has content which may be considered inappropriate for young children. However, at Canterbury Shakespeare Festival we actively encourage the participation of children and young people in the full scope of what Shakespeare and theatre in general have to offer, so although measures will be taken to ensure that all of the performances will be inclusive events in the greatest possible respect, we cannot guarantee that everything on offer will be to everybody’s tastes. What we hope, though, is that each performance will be a memorable and deeply enjoyable experience.
In short: children of all ages are happily welcomed to our performances!
The approximate runtime of each performance will be detailed above, in the ‘Productions’ section of the website.
We kindly ask that audiences refrain from using cameras, camera phones and other recording equipment during the performances.
In the event that the limited seating provided by the Festival does not suffice, the use of folding garden chairs or camping stools is permitted.