History of The Shakespeare Tavern® Playhouse

It all started on May 16, 1984. As You Like It opened for a one week run at Manuel's Tavern on North Highland Avenue and a dream was born. Ultimately attracting national attention with articles in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and coverage by CBS and CNN news programs, this modest production became the defining experience for what would ultimately become America's only Shakespeare Tavern®.

Based on the proposition Shakespeare’s plays cannot be separated from the world from which they were created, ASC used the casual atmosphere and Globe-like ambiance of Manuel’s Tavern to explore and illuminate Shakespeare’s text. Over a period of six years, ASC produced As You Like It, Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.

As the company began to outgrow Manuel’s Tavern, the quest began. It was a quest for a different kind of theater; a dedicated facility built from the ground up whose raison d’être would be a communion of audience and actor in thought, word, and deed.

The Shakespeare Tavern® on Peachtree Street is the first step toward fulfilling this quest. It is a place to eat, drink, and nourish the soul, a place where actors and audiences alike can directly experience the works of Shakespeare and other great playwrights. It is a place where people do not just watch the trial of Saint Joan or the last moments of Romeo as he shares a final embrace with his sleeping wife. It is a place to share Joan’s thoughts … to feel her heartbeat … to breathe with Romeo as his arms enfold his everlasting love.

It is a magic place.

In 1999 The Shakespeare Tavern® became even more magical. After undergoing a $1.6 million renovation and expansion, on October 15, 1999, ASC opened the doors on The Shakespeare Tavern® Playhouse. Complete with a Globe-inspired balcony, the expanded Tavern inspires an even more active Elizabethan actor/audience dynamic.

In the Spring of 2006, after completing a $500,000 renovation, ASC revealed a Globe-inspired façade on its Midtown Atlanta location.