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The Summer Shakespeare Festival

The Summer Shakespeare Festival is the oldest and biggest open-air festival in Slovakia presenting works by William Shakespeare

The festival was held for the first time in Bratislava in 2001. Brilliant Shakespeare games and the unique atmosphere of summer evenings are from the beginning extremely attractive to top creators and enthusiastic viewers.

These plays are always a multiple celebration of the theatre art as such and still in an unconventional open air premises, bringing them closer to the original famous Globe Theatre as much as possible. They are above all a feast of Shakespeare himself and his theatrical legacy. Their successful existence for several years proves that even their audiences joined the audience, which volunteered to participate in more than 450 years of confirmation of the existence of ethical principles, about which Shakespeare’s characters are fighting their most tragic or comical battles.


At the same time, it significantly contributes to the creation of a program for visitors from all over Slovakia and abroad. For the 22nd time, the festival will bring non-standard theatre performances to Bratislava during the slack season of the summer theatre break of stone theatres. The Summer Shakespeare Festival is also a feast of Czech and Slovak theatre and cultural understanding and a great feast of specific acting, stage design and direction performances.

This year’s edition of the festival will offer the premiere of Hamlet, as well as The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale.


However, the Summer Shakespeare Festival will cheer up Bratislava not only with evening performances of the greatest theatre author of all time, but also with fairy tales. During weekend afternoons, famous fairy-tale characters will appear in the scenic decorations of the famous Shakespeare plays in the premises of the Eurovea complex with a view of the Danube on M. R. Štefánik Square behind his statue, in the Janko Kráľ Park on the Othello Stage and also on the main festival stage at the Bratislava Castle.


The Festival usually takes place from the beginning of July to the beginning of August on open-air scenes in Bratislava. The Festival was started by President Václav Havel when he opened the Prague Castle to artists in the early 1990s in an effort to attract the public there. The actor Marian Zednikovic was playing on this festival and start production with this festival at Bratislava and the festival has been held regularly since 2000.

The Festival enjoys wide popularity as we can see in the demand for tickets, record audience numbers and its overall standard reflected in the unparalleled and lively media response and appreciative criticism. Around 30 plays are staged during a summer in an open-air auditorium seating 300 – 500 people which is as a rule filled to capacity.

The Festival with its annual premieres has established itself during its existence as an event that the public at large does not miss. Plays staged exclusively for the Summer Shakespeare Festival are presented in Slovak and sometimes in Czech.


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