It is a tradition at the Festival to have live jazz and other music genres performed live in the courtyard of Ewing Manor.
Glenn Wilson (pictured above) and Friends has been a featured jazz group for many years.
Every evening before our mainstage performance, the Festival offers free pre-show entertainment! Originating on the lawn - hence the name - our Green Shows have ranged from mini performances of Shakespeare's works to strolling singers and folk groups.
Have you ever wondered what is behind the scenery? Want to peek into secret passageways and hidden backstage rooms? Want to discover interesting bits about the history of the Festival and how we put a season together? The tour will take you backstage of Ewing Theatre. Get a glimpse at this extraordinary theatre while you learn about the scene and costume design process from first production meeting to final product that you see on the stage.
The tour is approximately 30-minutes and begins in the courtyard box office at 6 p.m. each night.
The tour capacity is only 25 persons and fills up fast so we recommend booking in advance. The cost is $10 per person. Call the box office at (309) 438-2535.
Explore the historic building often called “The Castle” by locals. Davis and Hazle Buck Ewing built Ewing Manor in 1928-29. They lived in influential circles. Davis was a cousin of Adlai Ewing Stevenson, an Illinois governor and Presidential candidate. Hazle was an heir to the Wrigley Chewing Gum family. The manor’s Channel-Norman architectural style and surrounding gardens, (created by the same landscape architect who also designed Springfield's Lincoln Memorial Gardens), make it one of the most beautiful historic homes in the state. And that holds true for the inside as well, with much of the home's original furnishings intact. Hazle bequeathed Ewing Manor and the surrounding grounds to the ISU Foundation which soon became a popular spot for student actors to perform scenes from Shakespeare plays, thus inspiring the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
For information about booking a tour click here.