One of the top 10 largest Shakespeare festivals on the planet based on attendance, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival runs from September to early May at Carolyn Blount Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama. The festival offers about ten productions every year, including plays of William Shakespeare alongside other classical or modern playwrights.
Sometimes the festival takes on plays by Southern authors. It attracts over 300,000 attendees from over 60 countries every year. Thanks to ASF's revolving repertory season, attendees can see several plays over one weekend.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents over 400 performances each season. It also provides education programs to over a million students. The festival holds the largest professional theatre troupe in Alabama. Alabama Shakespeare Festival was first held in a high school auditorium in Anniston in 1972. Due to its success and innovative approach, in 1987 the ASF moved to a new magnificent performing arts center in Montgomery—Carolyn Blount Theatre—that hosts the 792-seat Festival Stage and the 225-seat Octagon Theatre with rehearsal halls and administrative offices.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival contributes greatly to the local economy, being responsible for about 1,000 jobs in the area. ASF actors, directors, and designers are professionals from Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Each play involves artisans to create handmade costumes and decorations that add an artistic value to the Festival.