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Montford Park Players: 9 Best Things To Know About Shakespeare In The Park

The Montford Park Players produce the best Shakespeare in the Park in Asheville, NC. Learn what to bring and expect for one magical evening.

One of our favorite things to do in Asheville from May through October is attend a weekend performance of Shakespeare in the Park performed by the Montford Park Players.

This donation-based, non-profit theater puts on hilariously fun productions of Shakespeare’s famous and lesser-known plays along with a few non-Shakespearean classics.

Below, learn what to expect, what to bring, and where to park to have the most magical evening under the stars watching Asheville’s Shakespeare in the Park, fireflies included.

So, grab your chairs or picnic blankets, and get ready to head to the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre in the Historic Montford District.

Shakespeare in the Park in Asheville makes for the perfect romantic evening out and will sing to bibliotourists. Let’s get started!

Explore more of the best things to do while in Asheville.

Montford Park Players Shakespeare In The Park Asheville with Shakespeare like stage in Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre with people sitting in lawn chairs overlooking stage and actors
Keep reading for a locals’ guide to the Montford Park Players Shakespeare in the Park at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre.

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Montford Park Players 2022 Season

Asheville Shakespeare in the Park Playbill with white hand holding up newspaper material playbill in front of Shakespeare stage with Pericles and Macbeth performed by Montford Park Players
Be sure to grab a free playbill on your way into the performance.

Shows run on most Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, typically starting at 7:30 PM; we suggest arriving around 7:00 to 7:15 PM and expect a 2 to 3+ hour experience with intermission.

Please double-check the Montford Park Players website for all official showtimes – just in case something changes.

  • May 6 – June 4: As You Like It (Shakespeare)
  • June 10 – July 9: The Little Prince (Drama by Rick Cummins & John Scoullar & book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
  • July 15 – August 13: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)
  • August 19 – September 17: The Three Musketeers (Catherine Bush)
  • September 23 – October 22: Hamlet (Shakespeare)

See what other events are happening around Asheville.

9 Best Things To Know About Asheville’s Shakespeare In The Park

1. Parking is free

Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre Parking with sun setting over mountains and playground with cars parked around lots
For free things to do in Asheville, you cannot go wrong with a play in the park. Of course, donations are encouraged.

Parking is free for Asheville’s Shakespeare in the Park. You will find a two-tiered lot at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre, which is located at 92 Gay St, Asheville, NC 28801.

If these lots are full, find additional parking around the Tempie Avery Montford Center at 34 Pearson Drive and in the lower lots at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce located at 36 Montford Ave.

There’s a small playground on the hill around the Montford Center before entering the outdoor theater.

You may also park around many of the further surrounding Montford streets, being mindful and respectful of people’s residences. Please pay attention to all posted street signs.

You cannot park on the narrow streets directly around the Montford Center.

2. Performances are free; donations are encouraged

Montford Park Players Shakespeare in the Park with colorful open air theater lit up at night
Nothing is more romantic and fun than Shakespeare under the stars.

Like parking, Montford Park Players provide free performances.

You do not have to purchase tickets online or in person (although there is an option on their site). You may just arrive and enjoy.

During intermission or online, donate as much as you like or are able to. Performers typically come around at intermission with hats and buckets to collect your donation.

Montford Park Players suggest a donation of around $10 to $15 per person on their website.

3. You may purchase chair rentals online

Shakespeare in the Park Asheville seating with white man in law chair wearing gray hat and holding Malarkey mug in front of Shakespeare stage
We bring our own lawn chairs and tend to buy additional beverages from the concession stands.

While attending Shakespeare in the Park does not require advanced planning, if you’d like to rent Adirondack chairs for the evening, you may do so online.

Lawnchair rentals in 2022 cost about $7 plus a service fee.

If you do not wish to rent chairs, bring your own lawn chairs or a blanket.

Or, sit on the (harder) wooden Amphitheatre tiers – there are seven of them. The Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre can accommodate around 1,000 people.

It can sometimes be harder to see the stage from the ground or a beach chair. It is also harder to hear in the back of the theater.

Seating is first-come, first-serve, and there is no smoking in this area.

Many people around you will be enjoying a glorious and mouthwatering picnic.

4. Seating is uncovered

Theater in the Park Asheville NC with red and black dragon with smoke coming over stage
We loved the Montford Park Players’ performance of The Sword in the Stone. How about that smoking dragon?

All seating at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre is uncovered. Arrive prepared for the weather as well as bugs. We highly recommend wearing or bringing bug screen.

In the summer, the uncovered seating also offers gorgeous views of the stars and fireflies.

Small umbrellas are allowed – but please always keep in mind the people around and behind you.

5. Concession stands sell local beverages and treats

Montford Park Players Playbill with actors from a Midsummer's Night dream in front of stage with people sitting in lawn chairs around stage
Grab your playbill, a Green Man ESB, and some ice cream before finding your seat.

While you may bring your own food and drinks for Shakespeare in the Park in Asheville, know that there are multiple concession stands.

These vendors sell local beer, wine, ice cream, water, other non-alcoholic drinks, and more.

Coolers are allowed.

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6. There are on-site public restrooms

Since you might be drinking beer – or water – know that there are public restrooms on-site. Basic facilities include toilet stalls, water and soap for handwashing, and hand driers.

As the evening grows darker, you may wish to have a flashlight or your cellphone flashlight handy. There is minimal lighting and cleared dirt walking paths.

7. Families, pets, and couples may enjoy Shakespeare in the Park

Montford Park Players Shakespeare Asheville with Shakespeare stage, couple sitting in front with law chairs, and blue, green, and red lights in shape of banners on stage
Did someone say Asheville date night?

For many, Shakespeare in the Park is one of the great family-friendly things to do in Asheville.

In 2021, the Montford Park Players performed The Sword In The Stone at a special 5:30 PM showing.

However, some of the shows go late into the evening, last over three hours, and might be boring and hard to understand for the littles. You know your family members best.

Leashed and well-behaved dogs are also allowed.

Performances are one of the most romantic things to do in Asheville, especially perfect for couples. Or, enjoy a fun night out with best friends.

You’ll see a variety of people attending, especially Asheville locals.

8. This is not your average Shakespeare

Asheville theater Shakespeare in the Park with Shakespeare mural near trees and stage
One of our favorite Asheville murals for literary lovers.

Although no longer in business, our favorite restaurant – Chiesa – “warned” us that Asheville’s Shakespeare in the Park was a bit…different…and best enjoyed with a beverage.

You might catch actors in body glitter, hilarious dancing, and sometimes (lower-budget) vibrant costumes – and we are all here for it.

This is not your average Shakespeare. Enjoy twists, turns, quite a few laughs, and modern takes.

9. There are plenty of sights & restaurants nearby

While in Historic Montford, before you watch a play, catch a Caribbean-inspired dinner at Nine Mile – one of the best restaurants in the city.

Then, talk a walk around Montford, passing Montford Park, many Free Little Libraries, and gorgeous historic Bed & Breakfasts.

Asheville is also full of spots for book lovers. Nearby, pay homage to literary greats, O. Henry and Thomas Wolfe at Riverside Cemetery.

Asheville’s North Asheville neighborhood resides next to Montford and also houses fabulous local restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.

Head to Rye Knot for beer, whiskey, and grub, Asheville Pizza and Brewing for the best AVL pizza, or The Madness AVL for stellar sushi and burgers.

For another quick stroll before catching a performance, drive to Beaver Lake for its 2+-mile perimeter trail and bird sanctuary.

Where To Stay In Asheville

Explore the best places to stay in Asheville. A few of our top suggestions:

  • Aloft – Downtown Asheville – Centrally located and recently renovated, enjoy a rooftop pool, gorgeous bar, and trendy rooms.
  • The Omni Grove Park Inn – Treat yourself to a luxury resort in North Asheville, complete with breathtaking sunsets, terrace bars and dining, and loads of Asheville history.
  • Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – A budget-friendly but renovated hotel on busier Brevard Road that’s perfect if you wish to stay between Biltmore Estate, Downtown Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Asheville Cottages – Gorgeous 1 to 3-bedroom cottages with a private deck, housing a grill and hot tub. Find luxurious heated-floor bathrooms with rain showers, a well-stocked kitchen, and the cleanest rooms in town.
  • Foundry Hotel – An oasis in Downtown Asheville, Foundry Hotel is a nod to AVL’s industrial history. Find famous restaurant Benne on Eagle while sleeping ensconced in charm and elegance.
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville Westgate, NC – Located off of the highway as you enter AVL, find a sleek and clean hotel at a great price. 
  • Black Walnut B&B Inn – Designed by Biltmore’s supervising architect, Richard Sharp-Smith, this 1899 inn is close to Downtown AVL and serves afternoon tea. Two rooms are pet-friendly.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.

Leave Prepared: Save This Article For Later

Shakespeare In The Park Asheville North Carolina Pinterest pin with colorful stage lit up at night with people in lawn chairs watching performers
Heading to the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre for the first time to attend Shakespeare in the Park? Save this post for later, and enjoy Asheville like a local with Uncorked Asheville.

Have you attended Shakespeare in the Park in Asheville, NC?

As the Montford Park Players’ playbill notes, they are one of the only 15 theaters in the world to have staged all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays.

They are also the longest-running Shakespeare theater company in North Carolina and one of the few in the U.S. that remains free.

Lastly, they offer scholarships for youth aged 9-17 for their theatre-in-residence program, the Montford Moppets.

They are utterly fabulous!

Have you attended a Montford Park Players’ performance of Shakespeare in the Park? Which one, and what did you think? Let us know in the comments.

Where to head next:

Explore Asheville’s Hippest Neighborhoods
More Parks & Gardens