The mission of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival's Educational Outreach program is to promote active engagement with the works of William Shakespeare. By doing so, we hope to nurture respect for the power of language, encourage the examination of complex ideas, fire imaginations, and deepen understanding and tolerance for the richness of human experience.
"Take time to pause..." (Midsummer, Act 1, Scene 1) with this video series of performances and interviews with some of your favorite ISF artists.
We have asked familiar faces from the ISF stage to perform a monologue that speaks to them, followed by an in-depth interview about what inspired their choice. We are excited to share these artists and open up new dialogue.
Kelsey Fisher-Waits is a professor of acting at Illinois State University. She was most recently seen as Casca in ISF's 2019 Caesar and Mistress Quickly in ISF’s productions of The Merry Wives of Normal, Henry V, and Shakespeare In Love in 2018. Past notable productions include Mr. Burns: a post-electric play, Mother Courage and Her Children, Measure for Measure, Henry V, The Glass Menagerie, and Three Sisters. Mrs. Fisher-Waits holds an MFA in performance and pedagogy from Texas Tech, where she was the recipient of the Helen DeVitt Jones Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, and a BFA in acting from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Steven Young was recently seen on the 2018 ISF stage as Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Normal, Nym in Henry V, and Burbage in Shakespeare In Love. Previous ISF credits include Falstaff (Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2), Caliban (The Tempest), Pompey (Measure for Measure), Toby Belch (Twelfth Night), and Gloucester (Falcons Pitch). As a Shakespeare Dallas Company member: King Henry (Henry VIII), Timon (Timon of Athens), Gloucester (King Lear), Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Toby Belch (Twelfth Night), Orgon (Tartuffe), Menenius Agrippa (Coriolanus) and Antiochus/Cleon/Simonides (Pericles). At Stamford Shakespeare Festival UK: Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Six plays shy of completing the Shakespeare canon, Young has played the title roles in Hamlet, Richard III, and Romeo & Juliet (The People’s Theatre). Directing credits: Taming of the Shrew and Comedy of Errors (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival UK); Tempest and The Three Sisters (Stolen Shakespeare Guild); Hair, Metamorphosis, The Illusion, Triumph of Love, Dionysus of the Holocaust, and Mr. Burns (Swine Palace Productions); Noises Off, Last Night of Ballyhoo, and A Christmas Carol (New American Theatre). Numerous playwriting credits include Under the Underpass at Nylon Fusion Theatre-NYC and The King’s Face at the Shakespeare Project of Chicago.
Ashley Hart Adams performed in ISF's 2019 season as Jane in Pride and Prejudice, Portia in Caesar, and Phebe in As You Like It. Regional: Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre: Love’s Labour’s Lost, Julius Caesar; Swine Palace: Twelfth Night, School for Lies, Clybourne Park; Warehouse Theatre: A Lesson Before Dying. Ashley resides in New York City and holds an MFA in Acting from Louisiana State University.
Jessica Dean Turner is an actress, teacher, and Chicago native. Chicago credits: Lady from the Sea (u/s) (Court Theatre); Roe, Lottery Day (u/s) (Goodman Theatre); Tiny Beautiful Things (Victory Gardens); Red Rex (Steep Theatre); United 232, Season on the Line (House Theatre); Fear and Misery in the Third Reich (Haven). Regional: As You Like It, Caesar, Pride and Prejudice (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Two Gentlemen of Verona, Comedy of Errors (Arkansas Shakespeare Company). Television: CRISIS, Chicago PD, The Chi. Represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
In addition to mainstage productions, ISF produces a yearly Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) show that is perfect for the whole family!
Bring your children, grandchildren, or youth group - everyone is welcome and the price is FREE! Our TYA performances are fun and usually last under an hour.