The Verona Shakespeare Fringe Festival was born in the heat of the 2020-21 Covid-19 Pandemic as an initiative of the Skenè Centre of Verona University, in collaboration with international partners and under the auspices of the Municipality of Verona. The Festival was founded to provide a platform for international collaboration, cultural exchange, and aesthetic experimentation. Closely connected with the educational activities of the Shakespeare and the Mediterranean Summer School run by the Centre, since 2022 it has become part of the Estate Teatrale Veronese (which in the same year reached its 74th edition), run by the Municipality, and is currently organized by it with the Skenè Centre of Verona University (Estate Teatrale Veronese 2022 | Comune di Verona; Sistema Teatrale Veronese (spettacoloverona.it)).
The VSFF counts as its partners the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival, Hamletscenen and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Performers who in 2022 participated in the VSFF have come from all over the world, from countries including Bangladesh, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Serbia, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. All shows have been recorded and can be found on our website (2021 shows: Shows – Verona Shakespeare Fringe Festival (univr.it); 2022 shows: Shows – Verona Shakespeare Fringe Festival (univr.it)).
The mission of the Verona Shakespeare Fringe Festival is to create an international, multi-lingual festival in Verona, Italy, that serves as inspiration and space for the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare. Steeped in the sights and sounds of Verona, the Festival fuses the work of researchers and artists who dissolve previous boundaries between stagecraft and scholarship; makes possible new modes of performance, reception, and transmission; and creates opportunities for audiences to experience a diverse array of imaginative responses to Shakespeare’s works. The festival seeks to cultivate new work, cultural exchange, and intercultural dialogue, opening a space besides the long-lived Shakespeare Festival at the Teatro romano, which was inaugurated in 1948.
The Festival seeks to cultivate new work, cultural exchange, and intercultural dialogue. The Festival offers young and experimental artists the chance to showcase their work and dialogue with each other; favours inclusiveness and openness; supports multilingual and multicultural approaches to Shakespeare; and provides a site for translational encounters between artists and researchers in a free-wheeling exchange
of vibrant conversations. The festival seeks to be without borders. It cultivates opportunities for audience development and aesthetic possibilities across a diverse spectrum of theatrical knowledge. The festival understands Shakespeare as lingua franca, a language for inter-cultural exchange and theatrical creation. Like the Roman god Janus, it sees the past and future together as one, as it envisions Shakespeare as relentlessly alive, consistently new, and constantly renewable.