Arts & Culture

UK Theatre's 'Shakespeare in Love' hits the mark


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance closes out their 2022-23 season with "Shakespeare in Love," a play based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, running April 20-23, in the Guignol Theatre.  

This enchanting, hilarious, romantic stage play reimagines William Shakespeare's creative process — and explores his inspiration — as he writes "Romeo and Juliet." Young Will Shakespeare has writer's block. The deadline for his new play is fast approaching, but he's in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse — the feisty, brilliant and beautiful Viola. This crafty young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms, inspiring him to write his greatest romantic masterpiece.  

"Shakespeare in Love" is written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall. The UK production is directed by Stephen Wrentmore, the department's season producer. 

“It is a thrill to be working on this play," Wrentmore said. "Tom Stoppard and Lee Hall are masters of theatrical language, so it is a joy to bring this mischievous love letter to theatre to life on stage. Our students have done amazing work, both logistically in our stage management and technical departments, and our performers as they wrestle the contemporary comedy and the Elizabethan text."  

UK’s production of "Shakespeare in Love' will also feature live music and song from students in the UK Opera Theatre and School of Music. Musical direction is by Scot Buzza, who said the production was a great opportunity, "UK's School of Music has a rich collection of historical instruments that includes recorders, da gambas, cornetti and racketts, among others. We've taken some of them out of storage, dusted them off, and integrated them into the performance wherever possible to help bring the audience further into the 16th-century world of 'Shakespeare in Love.'" 

Alumni have also lent their skills to the production. Fight choreography has been created by alumnus Andrew Dylan Ray and assisted by alumna Emily Norris. And movement has been choreographed by Laura Neese. The production's scenic design is by Assistant Professor Kate Field, lighting by Heather Brown and costumes by Tracy Ward. 

Performances will take place in the Guignol Theatre, located in the Fine Arts Building at 465 Rose St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, through Saturday, April 22, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23. Reserved seating. Tickets are available by visiting the Singletary Center for the Arts at or by calling the box office at 859-257-4929. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. 
Mask-wearing is optional for audience members at University of Kentucky events. If you or someone in your party are ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 we kindly ask that you refrain from attending in order to slow the spread of the disease. Thank you for attending responsibly. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.