The GREAT LAKES THEATER FESTIVAL began as the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival with a performance of As You Like It on 11 July 1962, with a 30-member acting company performing 6 plays by Shakespeare that summer. Funded by a Board of Trustees headed by Lakewood School Board president Dorothy Teare, the festival opened at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium with the financial backing of the City of
In July 1982 the festival moved downtown to the refurbished
Engle, Ron, et al., eds. Shakespeare Companies and Festivals: An International Guide (1994).