Image of First Folio, Shakespeare
Henry Kemp-Blair Shakespeare Festival

» Henry Kemp-Blair Shakespeare Festival

February 21 & 22, 2020

The Henry Kemp-Blair Shakespeare Festival for high school students is hosted annually each spring by Chapman University's Department of Theatre. Students spend the weekend on scene, monologue and design presentations and participating in workshops. This event is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience and learn more about performing Shakespeare. 

The Festival is FREE for schools and students to attend, however advance registration is required. We ask schools commit to attending both days of the Festival to benefit from the full program. All presentations must be drawn from the first folio of William Shakespeare. Certificates and theatrical books are awarded for outstanding monologues, outstanding scenes, and individual performances within scene presentations and outstanding designers.

We hope you'll join us!

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Students work with Shakespearean clinicians

Register Early!

Space fills up quickly, and entrance is based on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to register early to secure your place in the Festival.

Step 1: Festival Registration

Click on the registration button to begin. Be sure to indicate whether your school can attend both days, the number of participants, and workshop preference.

Schools may be placed on a wait list once the Festival is full, and may be offered a spot based on availability and their original registration application date.

Step 2: Festival Presentation

A confirmation e-mail is sent to each school accepted into the Festival, including a link to submit presentation information: specific entries, student names, play selections, etc. This information is also printed in the final program and on adjudication sheets, so accuracy is important.

Presentation Rules / FAQs

Students work with Shakespearean clinicians

We will strictly enforce the time limits for scene and monologue presentations in the spirit of fairness. Performance times will occur on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

  • Scene presentations are performed on the Waltmar Theatre stage. Scenes will be presented on the forestage, which is 35 feet wide by 15 feet deep, backed by a black curtain. Entrances are available stage right and left. Only one scene may be presented from each high school, and it can be no longer than eight minutes. It may include as many as 15 students.
  • Monologue presentations are in our 50-seat “black box” studio theatre, Moulton Hall 149. The playing area is 22 feet wide by 18 feet deep. Two monologues may be submitted from each high school. Each can be no longer than two minutes.
  • Lighting for both scene and monologue presentations: After a presentation has been announced by the M.C., the stage lights will fade out and remain dark for ten seconds. During this time the actor/s may take their place/s on stage if they wish or they may wait for the lights to come up and then enter in light. No lights will be lowered at the end of a scene unless cued by a school’s stage manager.
  • Costumes, makeup and props must be provided by each high school. Do not feel obligated to use Elizabethan garb. Successful past scenes have included a variety of period and contemporary dress.
  • Sound support is not offered. If you require sound, please bring your own portable equipment.
  • We urge groups NOT to bring scenery unless it is free standing, and can be erected in 2 minutes. Basic tables and chairs will be provided. NO LIQUIDS, DIRT, GLITTER, SPRAY, DRY ICE OR FIRE IS ALLOWED ON THE STAGE. Please check with the Festival Coordinator about any substances you wish to bring onstage.
  • Design presentations will consist of a 10-minute presentation period in one of Moulton Hall's classroom facilities where participants may show a 3D model or drawing of a set, costume, lighting or make-up design for one of two plays (Macbeth or A Midsummer Night's Dream). Participants should be prepared with a written portion of their presentation (does not need to be memorized) and be able to answer questions with clarity. Following their presentation, two judges will ask questions regarding the design. Due to the low number of design presentations, these will only occur in the afternoon portion of Saturday.
  • Makeup and dressing facilities are provided.
  • Refreshments and bottled water will be provided.

Contact Us

Shakespearian actor reads verseProf. Thomas F. Bradac
Shakespeare Festival Director

Phone: (714) 744-7016

Joann King
Shakespeare Festival Coordinator

Phone: (714) 744-7001

Mailing Address:
Chapman University
College of Performing Arts
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
Attn: Joann King