Orchestrating the Montague Shakespeare Festival’s Vision

At the heart of the Montague Shakespeare Festival stands its Executive Director, Kenny Butler, whose artistic journey is deeply rooted in a childhood fascination with Shakespeare. A fascination sparked in elementary school when a scene from “Julius Caesar” — the iconic “lend me your ears” speech by Mark Antony — became a pivotal moment of revelation for Kenny. His sixth-grade teacher’s line-by-line analysis of how Shakespeare’s words could simultaneously captivate a play’s characters and audience, transforming praise into scorn through irony, ignited Kenny’s passion for The Bard’s work. This early exposure to the power of language and performance set Kenny on a path of creative exploration and Shakespearean fanaticism.

Kenny’s work has been a testament to this dedication, weaving through acting, music, and production. He has expressed his creativity in many productions, creating music and sound design for “Romeo and Juliet” — where he also portrayed Montague — infused “Julius Caesar” with his auditory vision. He used his musical talents in “Twelfth Night” as both a lute player and composer.

Beyond Shakespeare, Kenny has expanded his reach into diverse theatrical works, providing lighting and sound design for seminal plays such as “Waiting for Godot” and “The Miser,” He played roles ranging from the poignant fiddler in “Desire Under the Elms” to many renditions of the fiddler in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His acting role and violin playing in “The Bone Ring” by U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall and his live percussion accompaniment to “Oedipus Rex” further highlight his engagement with complex narratives through sound.

Kenny’s recent work on the Peskeompskut Audio Tour project, recording interviews and providing fiddle music, underscores his commitment to using his art to connect with and educate the community. As a violinist and blues guitarist, both solo and with his band, the Butler Boys, Kenny continues to share his love for music with a broader audience.

“I’m the ringleader of a most peculiar conspiracy orchestrating a collusion of talent and creativity.”

Through the Montague Shakespeare Festival, Kenny Butler channels his lifelong passion for Shakespeare into a vibrant community event that celebrates The Bard’s timeless relevance. His leadership is marked by his love of artists and the arts and a desire to inspire others with the power of Shakespeare’s words, much as he was inspired nearly a half-century ago by a single speech from “Julius Caesar.”