Language and stories have been used to empower, empathize, and embolden communities. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s directive to “speak the speech” and by American playwrights today, we invite you to use your voice to bring these famous speeches to life in Blount Cultural Park. Around the pond and in our garden, you will see panels with famous speeches from characters in plays. We invite you to “speak the speech” and feel the power of language in your voice. Speak the Speech is free and open to the public throughout October and into mid-November 2020.
Film yourself and share using #SpeaktheSpeech.
The panels, spread along ASF’s grounds, are easily located and feature the works of August Wilson, Dominique Morisseau, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Zora Neale Hurston, Christina Quintana (CQ), Jiréh Breon Holder, Alice Childress, Lauren Gunderson, Thornton Wilder, Lorraine Hansberry, Mary Kathryn Nagle, and William Shakespeare. Additionally, there is a speech from Wynton M. “Red” Blount, who, along with his wife Carolyn, founded Blount Cultural Park.
(in alphabetical order)
Jiréh Breon Holder
Zora Neale Hurston
Mary Kathryn Nagle
Christina Quintana (CQ)
Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder
Looking for more words to speak?
In our Shakespeare Garden (open seven days a week), you’ll find a selection of monologues from Shakespeare’s canon.
Each selection includes the original text, a modern translation, and a character description.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you,
trippingly on the tongue.
— Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 2
Pieces curated by Artistic Director Rick Dildine and actress Adrian Kiser. Additional support provided by Cameron Williams.
Speak the Speech is generously sponsored by Wind Creek Hospitality and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
Photo sources: Alice Childress (Roundabout Theatre Company); Lorraine Hansberry (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library); Zora Neale Hurston (Carl Van Vechten/Public domain); Arthur Miller (U.S. State Department/Public domain); Thornton Wilder (Carl Van Vechten/Public domain); Tennessee Williams (Orlando Fernandez, World Telegram staff photographer/Public domain); August Wilson (Huntington Theatre Company).
Alabama Shakespeare Festival and its artists, staff, and artisans are busy at work. The pandemic is inspiring us to develop creative programs and events to bring the arts to you in this age of social distancing. Please join us along this journey by making a contribution today. Your tax-deductible gift will help ASF engage, entertain, and inspire students and adults.
Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated.