The cast, crew and director of Richmond Shakespeare Festival’s production of “As You Like It.” Supplied

The warmth of romantic comedy will be tempered by air conditioning this weekend and next.

Richmond Shakespeare Festival has moved to a new location this summer: the newly renovated McGuire Hall at Richmond High School. The hall’s updates include more comfortable seats, cooler temperatures and new technology. 

RSF is offering an original, full-cast production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” from June 16-18 and 23-25. Organizers describe it as one of the writer’s most beloved comedies.

Shakespeare sends Rosalind and her cousin Celia into the forest to find her love, the much-abused Orlando.

Richmond High School’s McGuire Hall auditorium now has new seats, flooring, curtains, paint, sound, lighting, and, for the first time, air conditioning. Photo by Milllie Emery

During their two hours with the audience, they meet a comic medley of clowns, shepherds and country maidens, along with a forest full of other courtly exiles seeking happiness and community with nature.

Although RSF has offered one-time performances by traveling Shakespeare troupes and “A Christmas Carol” last December, “As You Like It” is RSF’s first full summer production since 2019.

“I’m so glad that RSF has been able to weather the storm of the pandemic and bring one of Shakespeare’s finest plays right here to Richmond, Indiana,” said Patrick Flick, producing artistic director, in a news release.

This production features new music written by Chris Houston, a San Francisco-based composer/musician. Flick said RSF is “so lucky” to feature Houston’s composition. RSF’s Facebook page links to a YouTube video showing Houston demonstrating and discussing how he created this original music.

Local artist Laurie Traveline Neyer also provides musical direction.

Audiences might recognize local resident Erica Pearson, who has participated in the festival since its first season, but other cast and crew come from all over the United States, including director Kristin Clippard of Florida.

Many of those involved this year are recent graduates of local and not-so-local universities and professionals from New York City and beyond.

Beyond theater and music, visual art opportunities also enrich this year’s Shakespeare experience.

Richmond Art Museum’s galleries surround the auditorium, and theatergoers are encouraged to arrive early to browse the current displays, or take a quick look during intermission. RAM galleries will be open at 6:30 p.m. for evening performances and at 1 p.m. Sundays.

RAM’s new show is called “Best of the Best: Selected RAM Annual Exhibit Winners 1909-2022.” That display will be open through July 29, the same day the museum kicks off its 125th anniversary. 

Touring Shakespeare comedy

Once its production of “As You Like It” is over, RSF will take a break for about two months and then offer a touring performance of another Shakespeare comedy in a local park.

RSF encourages the Bard’s fans to mark their calendars for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s “The Comedy of Errors,” which will be offered at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 on Jack Elstro Plaza, 47 N. Sixth St.

Although admission is free, guests should bring a blanket or chair for the 90-minute production and money if they’d like to visit food trucks on site. Morrisson-Reeves Library is the nearby rain location.

If you go

  • What: “As You Like It” production by Richmond Shakespeare Festival
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, June 16-18 and 23-25
  • Where: McGuire Hall, Richmond High School, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond
  • Cost: Adults, $30; students $24. Tickets available at the door, at or 765-373-9022.
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A version of this article appeared in the June 14 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.