Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Partners on Virtual Shakespeare in the Gardens Experience

April 13, 2020

Media Contacts:
Lynn H. Bates, APR, CPRC
Selby Gardens, Vice President for External Affairs, (941) 366-5731 ext. 225

SARASOTA, FL – April 13, 2020: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training (the Conservatory) will bring William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into your home on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. The well-known play was set to premiere at Selby Gardens this April, but due to COVID-19, the highly anticipated outdoor theatre event, Shakespeare in the Gardens, was canceled. In a collaborative effort with the Conservatory to “Bring Selby Gardens to You,” three monologues from the famous play will be shared.

“We are happy that we can still showcase the amazing work of the students in the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training program, as well as share a taste of this unforgettable play with everyone,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, Selby Gardens’ President and CEO. 

The story of Romeo and Juliet centers around two star-crossed lovers, who are more in love than they knew was possible.  Their love is ultimately undone by the unyielding feud of their families. Students from the Conservatory will appear in three famous Romeo and Juliet monologues including, Romeo’s “He jests at scars that never felt a wound,” Juliet’s “Oh, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?,” and Mercutio’s “Oh, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.” The excerpts were directed by Jonathan Epstein at Selby Gardens within the Native Florida section of the Gardens.

“Canceling Romeo and Juliet was a big loss for our students, but having them present just a tiny sampling of their work this way is a wonderful celebration of the collaboration between Selby Gardens and the Conservatory,” shared Gregory Leaming, Director, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Shakespeare in the Gardens is a celebration of the works of William Shakespeare, hosted by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Shakespeare’s works are a mandatory part of the Conservatory students’ education, and Shakespeare in the Gardens provides them the chance to work in an outdoor theatre and in the round. This season’s show marks the fourth year of collaboration between the Gardens and the Conservatory. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens partnership with the FSU/Asolo Training Partnership is generously underwritten by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Shakespeare in the Gardens for the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is generously underwritten by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 


About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic plants such as orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns and other tropical plants, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. For more information, please visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Regular admission is $20 and $10 children ages 4-17; members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or Get social with us on Facebook, Instagram and more by searching @selbygardens. 

About the Conservatory

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. For more than 45 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s professional actors in exciting and significant roles. For more information, visit