The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is a regional repertory theatre located in Boise, Idaho, United States. Its performances are presented in the summer months, June to September. It has an arrangement to share its repertory cast with the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.


The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is a regional repertory theatre located in Boise, Idaho, United States. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival provides quality educational theater for the state of Idaho and its neighboring regions. Its mission is "to produce great theater, entertain, and educate." Each year the festival performs five plays, which consist of a combination of plays by William Shakespeare as well as a selection of others, both contemporary and classical.

The Festival serves more than 105,000 individuals annually, providing professional performance, arts education, and outreach programs to diverse constituencies in the Idaho area. The Festival, celebrating its 33rd year in 2009, enjoys strong attendance, critical acclaim, and loyal community support. The Festival’s outdoor amphitheater seats 770, and is surrounded by a beautiful habitat reserve home to several plant and animal species such as water birds, deer, hereon, ducks, geese and an occasional fox. In order to maintain this natural habitat, the Festival operates under an agreement with the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. A typical season at the outdoor amphitheatre consists of five to six mainstage productions from June through September for audiences exceeding 53,000 in the 2008 season, as well as several performances by the Festival's drama camps and apprentice program.

Before and after performances audience members can enjoy picnicking on the Boise River and gourmet meals from the Café Shakespeare, located in the William Shakespeare Park. The Café serves an assortment of beverages, wines and tablerock beers as well as gourmet deli items, picnic dinners and desserts. In addition to the plays, a free outdoor "Green Show" precedes the evening plays from June through October often set to Elizabethan music and themes. The Greenhow is essentially a showcase or mini play, based loosely on the evening’s performances.

The festival also brings theater-arts programming to schools in 39 of Idaho's 44 counties. The school tours, Idaho Theater for Youth and Shakespearience, annually reach more than 52,000 K–12 schoolchildren and teachers, including those in remote and rural communities. The drama school provides classes for students of all ages, and apprenticeships and residencies are offered for extended theatrical training. Summer camps offer educational experiences for children aged 3–18. These educational initiatives, in conjunction with the Festival's mainstage productions, allow the festival to serve a variety of audiences.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival is listed as a Major Festival in the book "Shakespeare Festivals Around the World" by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor), 2004.


From its inception in 1976, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival has provided the Boise, Idaho area with a unique art and theater experience. One of the original founders, Dan Peterson, died in 2008.


The Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater and Habitat Reserve is located in a small natural amphitheater along the Boise River, adjacent to the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation offices. Performances are in a state-of-the-art 770 seat facility that was built specifically to feature the human voice is nestled in a unique habitat that is home to an astonishing variety of plant and animal species. The Festival operates under an agreement with the Idaho Foundation for Parks & Lands, and the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation.


The festival is governed by a volunteer 44-member board of trustees; managed by 12 permanent staff members; serves as an artistic home for 180-plus artists, technicians, and service personnel; and hosts hundreds of community volunteers each year.


The 2009 season is scheduled to feature Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors, Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, Charles Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and A Tuna Christmas.

In 2005, they obtained a unique grant from the Idaho commission of the arts to tour a production of Dreams of a Bird Woman throughout Idaho.