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The Young American Shakespeare Festival 2023


The Young American Shakespeare Festival (YASF) at Commonwealth Theatre Center is the largest and longest-running Shakespeare festival by and for young people in the United States. This is the 24th year YASF has been in production, and we look forward to our audiences joining us as YASF returns to our very own The Nancy Niles Sexton Stage!


Scroll down to read about each production and reserve your tickets!


The Tempest
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Jessica De La Rosa


A tempestuous storm brings a shipwreck to a remote island, reuniting a rag tag cohort of Dukes, Dons, clowns and villains. Past betrayals, schemes, magic arts, and new love unfurls in this comedy, thought to be one of Shakepeare’s latest written plays. 

Director’s Note:

As always, we begin with an invitation. An invitation to let everything you think to be true- take a vacation. Just like in my classes, I’ll encourage you, “Best not to think too much.” Shakespeare gives us the opportunity to challenge our imaginations- and let these spirits work on your imagination. THE TEMPEST begins in chaos. And for the next couple of hours, see how this magic will settle the dust, and what new things can be created when we are forced to reckon with our past, and look forward to our future. So claim this time, delight in the unseen, and only take what you need. 


Trigger Warnings/Content Warnings: Flashing lights. Mild violence. 

Late Seating Policy: Due to the nature of this show, late comers will only be permitted to join the performance at intermission. There will be one ten-minute intermission. Approximate run time is TBD


The Tempest - Performance Dates
There are no refunds or exchanges at this time. Thank you for your understanding.
Dear Brutus
by J.M. Barrie; Directed by Meg Caudill


During Midsummer week, eight strangers receive an invitation to stay at the remote home of a mysterious old man who claims that they all have something in common. The strange little host spins tales of an enchanted wood that only appears on Midsummer Eve. Those who are brave enough to enter the wood will receive something everyone longs for - a second chance. What will these visitors decide when faced with the chance to enter the woods and change their lives forever?

Director's Note:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” The show’s title is inspired by this line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. What would you do if you had a chance to change the course of your life?

When researching the history of this play, I discovered that it was written after World War 1 and provided an escape from the reality of war by giving audiences a place to go and experience the magic and wonder of “what if.” Over the years, there is a pattern of this show being performed during times of conflict or unrest and it has often been referred to as the Neverland for Grownups. So far, 2023 has brought grief and uncertainty to our community and working on this show has been a source of joy for me. I hope it provides joy for you as well, and reminds you that each and every day we have the power to choose the path we want to take.


Trigger Warnings/Content Warnings: This show contains themes of loss.


Late Seating Policy: Due to use of the vom at the beginning of the play, late comers will have a ten minute hold before they can be seated.

Dear Brutus will have two 10 minute intermissions.

Dear Brutus - Ticket Reservations
There are no refunds or exchanges for this production
As You Like It
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Charlie Sexton



Director’s Note:


Trigger Warnings/Content Warnings: TBD


Late Seating Policy: TBD

As You Like It - Performance Dates
There are no refunds or exchanges at this time.
Pop Up Merchandise Shop!

Our online Pop Up Shop is officially closed -- but no need to fret, we will have a few specialized pieces with our 

whimsical YASF logo for 2023 available for purchase at the theatre for the run of the festival! 


Join Us!

Nancy Niles Sexton Stage at Commonwealth Theatre Center

1123 Payne St. Louisville, KY 40204

On street parking available and small parking lot in back of building. 

There are no refunds or exchanges for this production. If tickets are not claimed at the door five minutes before the performance, they are subject to be given to patrons on the waiting list. Thank you for your understanding.

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