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Public Events

Public Events

Renaissance Wednesdays 

A series of hour-long informal talks on wide-ranging topics by local or visiting scholars held in the Center Reading Room. Lecture topics are of general interest; discussion and refreshments follow each talk. Co-sponsored by the Amherst Woman's Club. Check our Calendar of events for details.

Hampshire Shakespeare Summer Performances

Hampshire Shakespeare Company is a community-based organization with part-time seasonal professional staff. The Company brings together professional, amateur and student performers, offering audiences and actors a range of theatrical experiences from the most profound to the most playful.

Every summer, HSC performs "Shakespeare Under the Stars," an outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play that takes place on the Great Meadow of the Renaissance Center.

For more information about this season contact

More on performances at the Center

Annual Renaissance Festival

Our annual Renaissance Festival grows each year with vendors and performance groups including Phoenix Swords, falconry with Marla Isaac, games with Mutton and Mead, blacksmithing, "Accidental Wedding" performed by Renaissance Buffoons, Bob Melnik of Green River Woodcraft, Alta Luna Consort, the Renaissance Center book sale, Renaissance dancers, scenes performed by Young Shakespeare Players East, The Boar's Head Tavern Band, Meadow Street Styles, tarot readings with Mrs. Miller, weaving demonstrations by WEBS, jewelry making with Kate of Antika Nueva, music crafts with Robie Bones, AyreCraft, food and drink by UMass, a fairy glenn, and Tudor bowman. 

Check our Calendar of events for details in the Spring.

Garden Opening

Every summer the Center holds an official garden party to celebrate and enjoy the growing sixteenth-century Kitchen Garden. Music and light refreshment are provided, as are tours of our Renaissance Kitchen Garden. Check our Calendar of events for details.

First Sunday Concerts

The First Sunday Series presents two concerts each semester at 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoons. These performances feature regional musicians and early music groups. Announcements regarding our schedule can be found under the Events tab. Check our Calendar of events for details.

Community Reading Groups

The community reading group meets to discuss new fiction on or set in the renaissance. New members are always welcome. To join our conversation, please contact us at

Community Classes

Free community classes at the Center are offered each semester for members of the greater Amherst community and are taught by independent scholars, retired faculty, and experts in Renaissance studies. To sign up for a class please contact us at or call us at 413-577-3600.

This Fall 2018:

James van Luik, Professor Emeritus, from UMass Amherst will teach Science in the Renaissance, focusing on scientific developments during the Renaissance. This class starts on Wednesday, September 12th - October 24th

Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, is offering a twelve-weeks seminar entitled: Shakespeare's Badass Mothers, which will look at three mothers in particular and the context of political power: Volumnia (Coriolanus), Gertrude (Hamlet), and Margaret of Anjou, the She-Wolf of France (Henry VI). Classes start Monday, September 10th - December

Tony Burton, Independent Scholar & Lifetime Center Fellow, is teaching Shakespeare's The Tempest, focusing on Shakespeare's last play from the perspective of actors and character development. Class starts Tuesday, September 11th - November 13th