Our Story

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was founded in 1993 by a group of passionate and visionary young artists, and over the past three decades has evolved into a permanent fixture in Cincinnati's arts community. The first season consisted of five productions in multiple venues; today, CSC presents more than 250 performances of nine productions annually in its downtown theatre and through touring productions across the region. In 2017, CSC opened the brand new $17.5MM Otto M. Budig Theater in Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine, helping to distinguish the company as the only professional classical theater between Chicago and New Jersey. 


Timeline 1993


Beginning with a small grant in 1993, a group of young theatre artists found Fahrenheit Theatre Company. They produce an inaugural season of five plays in various local venues, beginning with Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at Gabriel’s Corner in Over-the-Rhine.

Timeline 1996


The Company moves to the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Performance Center in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.

Building With Bus 1710542969


The Company launches an Education Program to partner with local schools, aiding teachers in presenting Shakespeare to students in an exciting, understandable way that continues to this day.

Timeline 1998


Fahrenheit Theatre Company becomes Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival to clarify its mission and its relationship to other regional Shakespeare theaters. The Company acquires the lease of a former movie theater in downtown Cincinnati on Race Street and converts it into a small performance space.

Timeline 2004


Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival becomes a Small Professional Theatre under contract with the Actors' Equity Association, joining Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre as one of three union theatres in Cincinnati.

Timeline 2005


Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival changes its name again to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, highlighting the resident ensemble model and the year-round programming.

Free Shakespeare In The Park1


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company launches its FREE! Shakespeare in the Park Tour, the largest professional outdoor theatre opportunity in Cincinnati, increasing the affordability, availability, and accessibility of the arts outside the downtown core that continues to this day.

Timeline 2014


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company produces "The Two Noble Kinsmen," becoming one of only five theaters in the country to Complete the Canon, having produced all of Shakespeare's 38 plays.

Timeline 2015


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company launches the Making History Unexpected Capital Campaign for a new theater, going on to raise $17.5MM in just over two years.

Timeline 2016


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company begins construction on the brand new theater at the corner of 12th and Elm Streets in Over-the-Rhine.

Citybeat Cover Photo By Hailey Bollinger Copy


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company opens the brand new Otto M. Budig Theater at the corner of 12th and Elm in Over-the-Rhine with a celebratory production of Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

Timeline 2018


“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opens the 25th Anniversary Season marking Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s first ever musical.

Timeline 2019


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company launches its New Play Development program, dedicated to commissioning and developing new works by and for diverse voices in our community.

Timeline 2020


On March 12, 2020, CSC closes its doors due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although unable to produce a traditional Mainstage Season for 18 months, the Company redoubles its efforts to make its theater a space for public good and finds multiple ways to use both its facility and expertise to contribute to community efforts.

Timeline 2021


After 579 days of COVID-related closure, the Company re-opens the Mainstage in October 2021 with a production of Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet."

Timeline 2023


Cincinnati Shakespeare Company celebrates its 30th Anniversary Season of bringing Shakespeare and the Classics to life for all.

Sign Up to Learn More