It’s at Shakespeare Summer in Atlanta!

Metro Atlanta suffers no shortage of culture—there’s always a new play, ballet or musical performance to check out. And this summer, the best way to beat the heat is by catching a matinee play at the 25th anniversary season of the Georgia Shakespeare Festival on the Oglethorpe University campus, just a 30-minute drive from Woodstock.

With a new and improved café on the grounds, serving specialty coffee and fresh-squeezed lemonade, a covered terrace and picnic grounds that open 90-minutes prior to the start of the theater, it’s the perfect place to bring the whole family. Everyone from the littlest grandkids to boomers and their parents get a kick out of the troupe’s spot-on incarnations of William Shakespeare’s lively characters. And there are frequent “Terrace Talks” and “Actor Chats” before and after shows that offer interactive insight into the story and production.

This summer, three Shakespeare favorites are rotating through the big, rounded stage.

Imagine The Taming of the Shrew set to music and put in a time machine to take place in 1930s Miami for Shrew: The Musical. This humorous musical is an all-time favorite for Georgia Shakespeare, and the cast seems to have as much fun performing the swing, big band and jazz numbers as the audience does watching it.

Another of the summer’s offerings is the epic King Lear. Called one of the greatest works of Western literature, this may not be the play for small children, as the story follows a King who decides to split his kingdom between his three daughters, with the biggest piece going to the one he loves the best. It’s dramatic and an intimate look at the human condition.

And finally, Shakespeare’s lesser-known Love’s Labors Lost rounds out the calendar with a comedic and romantic tale of young nobleman who swear off love only to be tempted by a beautiful princess.

Whichever you choose (maybe all three!), a trip to the tent to see Shakespeare come alive is a tradition worth beginning this summer.

Georgia Shakespeare at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Rd., NE, Atlanta, 30319. gashakespeare.org; 404.504.3400. Tickets from $15, through August 8.

-Kathryn Romeyn

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