By Suzie Lind, Director of Membership Development, Williamson, Inc.

While sitting on blankets, camping chairs, bleachers and the Royal seats, nearly 1,400 people were entertained over four evenings by Williamson County’s first-ever performance by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Opening night for The Comedy of Errors at Academy Park was Thursday, September 29 and, although chilly, there were over 200 people in attendance.

Shakespeare in the Park has been entertaining Middle Tennessee in Centennial Park for 29 years. Franklin resident Tony McAlister serves as the Board Chair for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival and had a dream of expanding their performances to Williamson County. When we first met Tony and heard his story and passion for Shakespeare, it was an “of course!” moment for those of us who love our culture scene here in Williamson County. It made perfect sense to have a family-friendly, outdoor event that brings the brilliant work of William Shakespeare to life right here in Downtown Franklin.

“Things like this matter to our community vibrancy, and is a real-world example of how community development relates to economic development,” said Williamson, Inc. President and CEO Matt Largen. “Events like this make this a better community with more diverse offerings, which in turn help fuel the growth of Williamson County.”

Some of the comments overheard after the cast took their bow:

  • “WOW. The last time I stood on this field was when I played football for BGA. Now it’s a theater.”
  • “This has so far exceeded my expectations.”
  • “This was so much fun. Will you return next year?”
  • “Is this Shakespeare? I actually understood it.”
  • “Our community needs this type of event.”

Tony McAlister is just one of many success stories for Williamson, Inc. After we introduced him to some of our community partners who could help bring his dream to reality, Tony gave us the highest compliment by saying:

“Thank you so much for your support of Shakespeare in the Park in Franklin/Williamson County. You were directly responsible for bringing this unique event to our community for its inaugural performance. You and your team have been and are being very helpful in making us feel welcome in Williamson County. So please take a well-deserved bow as you were instrumental in introducing Shakespeare in the Park to Williamson County. Thank you!”

This is what we do at Williamson, Inc. We invite you to tell us your story and share your passion with us so we can connect you to others who share the same passions and can help make your plans thrive!

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is partnering with Williamson County Schools at the 15th Annual Career Exploration Day on Thursday, Nov. 10, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. the Williamson County Ag Expo. Come out and meet the folks behind this great effort and be sure to keep an eye out for their next performance in Franklin!

To learn more about the Nashville Shakespeare Festival and upcoming shows, visit www.nashvilleshakes.org.

Photo Gallery

Photo credits: Michael Edwards

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