Under the Greenwood Tree: A Celebration of Kentucky Shakespeare | Hybrid


The Filson Historical Society Thu, Apr 25 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


This program is associated with the exhibit, Kentucky Progress: History, Belonging, and Tourism in Public Lands, which will be open for 50 minutes prior to the program.

In the summer of 1960, director C. Douglas Ramey took his Carriage House Players theater company down the street from their Old Louisville venue to Central Park, where the actors performed scenes from the Shakespeare classic Much Ado about Nothing. Buoyed by the enthusiastic audience response, Ramey's company returned to the park the next year for the first full season of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. More than sixty years later, Kentucky Shakespeare is now the oldest free, non-ticketed Shakespeare in the Park festival in the country. To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the festival, in spring 2020 Kentucky Shakespeare cooperated with students in the University of Louisville's Department of History to record twenty entertaining and enlightening oral interviews with longtime members of the company. In Under the Greenwood Tree, author Tracy K'Meyer captures the history of Kentucky Shakespeare in a series of carefully selected and edited transcripts of these interviews. In these pages, past and present cast and crew share their memories of the company's history, performances in the park, and the positive impact of its many outreach programs, from its inception in the 1960s, to its slump in the early 2000s, and on to its recent renaissance. An illuminating record of the collaborative artistry that brings Shakespeare's works to life, Under the Greenwood Tree offers readers a peek behind the curtain at the group's steadfast stewardship of the most important literature in the English language.

Tracy K'Meyer is professor of US history at the University of Louisville, where she has served as codirector of the Oral History Center. She is the author of "To Live Peaceably Together": The American Friends Service Committee's Campaign for Open Housing and Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky 1945–1980.