The Idaho Shakespeare Festival started in 1977 with the classic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. Since then the festival has featured many of the works of Shakespeare and other great playwrights. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, the organizers gave us something to be grateful for when they announced the lineup for 2020. Nobody knew the festival would be impacted by a pandemic, though slightly poetic since Shakespeare wrote many of his plays during times of plague and sickness. The New Yorker writes that Macbeth, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest were written when most playhouses would have been closed due to sickness. Today, sickness again affects the author's plays. While the Idaho Shakespeare Festival will continue this year, there have been cancellations.

The first play of the season was set to begin last week with Much Ado About Nothing. That play has been cancelled along with the more current Tony award winning Ain't Misbehavin'. The festival website has updated information on cancellations and which plays will still perform. They note that under the original dates of the Idaho Rebounds program that theaters wouldn't be allowed to open until mid-June in stage-4. Governor Little modified the restrictions in a press conference this week and announced that theaters would be allowed to open in stage-3, earlier than originally planned.

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival still plans to present the remaining plays starting June 28th with Henry V running through August 16th, 2020. Jane Austen's tale, Emma, is the next play scheduled for performance starting July 30th and ending on August 30th. The final play of the season will be the suspenseful mystery Sleuth running September 4th through the 20th.

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Ticket and show information at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival website.