Ashley Hall Performing Arts Program Presents
King Lear
by William Shakespeare
March 15 & March 16 | 5:30 p.m.
Performed Outdoors in front of the Historic Bear Cave

A story of division, loss, endurance, and redemption, King Lear is as relevant today as it was in 1606 when, against a real-word backdrop of his own ebbing productivity and a kingdom divided, Shakespeare penned his play from a reimagined pre-Christian myth. Through the lens of an aging monarch who seeks to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, the play asks the timeless question of what binds us together as families, communities, and countries, and what are the forces that can break those bonds?
Set in a time referencing the 1920’s and integrating modern-day multi media, you don’t want to miss Ashley Hall’s “Shakespeare on the lawn” tradition.

Tickets: $10 for adults; $8 for students

Performances will be held rain or shine.  In addition to traditional seating, guests are encouraged to bring a blanket to enjoy viewing the performance from the lawn. This performance also includes mature themes and runs approximately two hours. 

Ticket sales are closed online and can be purchased at the performance.


Romeo & Juliet performed at the Bear Cave in the 1920s.

About the Historic Bear Cave

Outdoor Shakespeare performances are summer staples in larger cities like New York and Chicago. Now the Charleston community can claim its own outdoor Shakespeare experience with Ashley Hall’s Shakespeare at the Historic Bear Cave Series. Dating back as far as 1911 and a performance of As You Like It, the series has featured a variety of Shakespeare’s well-known plays including Midsummer’s Night Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest which was most recently performed in 2022.

The historic Bear Cave was part of the Witte family property, which was purchased by Ashley Hall in 1909. Owning exotic animals was a hobby of families of wealth during the turn of the twentieth century and the Witte family did own a pet bear named Fredrick. The cave itself is made of phosphorus rock and also features a small waterfall on its South side. In addition to hosting Shakespeare performances, the Bear Cave serves as an outdoor classroom for students of all ages. Commencement has also been held here annually for more than a century.