Welcome! I'm Colleen Sehy, author of Finding Shakespeare in America, a guide to festivals, theaters, gardens, and other places across the United States where you can connect with the Bard.
I also write Eating British in America, a monthly column for Anglotopia that highlights great places to find English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish food in the United States.
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Writer ~ Speaker ~ Traveler ~ Anglophile in America
I have a special interest in English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and Shakespearean history and culture in America.
I draw inspiration from my lifelong love of the British Isles, numerous visits to Great Britain and Ireland, and more than 30 years of traveling across the United States and Canada exploring places with links to the history and culture of the British Isles.
I love sharing ideas that will help you get in touch with your inner Brit right here in the United States, no passport or plane ticket required! That’s why I’m writing a series of guidebooks that highlight the best of the British Isles in the US. The first book, Finding Shakespeare in America, is available now. Finding Scotland, Finding Ireland, and Finding England are coming soon.
Please take some time to explore my site and learn more about my writing and speaking. Subscribe to my newsletter, Anglophile in America, for monthly updates on great Anglophile places I’ve visited in America, tips for connecting with the British Isles here in the United States, news about my books, and much more. You'll also receive my free guide, 10 Places in America Every Anglophile Should Visit.
Finding Shakespeare in America is here! It brings together hundreds of festivals, theaters, gardens, libraries, historic sites, and other Shakespeare-related attractions across the United States in a single guidebook that makes it easy to explore and celebrate the Bard from coast to coast.
Read Finding Shakespeare in Central Park, my exclusive tour of New York's Central Park.
Author and Speaker
I'm an author and speaker with special expertise in English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and Shakespearean history and culture in America.
I draw inspiration from my lifelong love of the British Isles, numerous visits to Great Britain and Ireland, and more than 30 years of traveling the US and Canada exploring places with links to the British Isles.
My passion for British history and culture goes back to my childhood, when I was introduced Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and many other classic British children’s books. When I was eight or nine, PBS aired The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which sparked my love of English history. I think it’s safe to say I was the only kid on my block who waited with bated breath for each episode! I took my first trip to England when I was fifteen, and in my early 20s, I started my ongoing odyssey to discover England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland here in America.
Love of Shakespeare
My love of Shakespeare was nurtured at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I planned to major in political science, but I enrolled in a Shakespeare class in my freshman year that ended up changing the course of my life.
It led to a part-time job at the university’s performing arts center and to my involvement in a university group that staged Renaissance plays. These experiences sparked an interest in theater management, and a transfer to Columbia College Chicago, where I completed an internship at Chicago’s famed Goodman Theatre and earned a bachelor’s degree in the school’s trailblazing Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management program, one of the first undergraduate arts management programs in the country. I also hold master’s degrees in organizational behavior and business administration.
After graduating from Columbia College, I spent five years at the Illinois Arts Council, a state grant-making agency that supports artists and arts organizations. Eventually, I managed the agency’s arts in education programs, which helped bring performing and visual artists to schools and communities across the state. My time at the Arts Council was followed by twenty-five years in higher education, much of it devoted to grant development and research administration.
Three months in London
In 2015, I had the unexpected opportunity to spend three wonderful months in England. I lived like a local in southeast London, volunteered two days a week at Benjamin Franklin House near Trafalgar Square, explored as many historic sites as possible, and enjoyed far too many cream teas.
While it’s not always possible to spend three months wandering the British Isles, I know from personal experience that the British Isles can be found all over America. When I returned from England, I set out to write a book on the best places to find England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Shakespeare in the United States, no passport or plane ticket required. I spent more than three years conducting research and visiting museums, historic sites, gardens, libraries, theaters, and festivals across the country, looking for the best of the British Isles. What began as one book quickly turned into a series.
The first book in the series, Finding Shakespeare in America, was published in February 2020. I’m hard at work on Finding Scotland in America and Finding Ireland in America, which will be followed by Finding England in America. I also write a monthly column called Eating British in America for Anglotopia. It highlights great places to find English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish food in the United States.
A Guide to Festivals, Theaters, Gardens, Museums, and Other Places Across the United States Where You Can Connect with the Bard
Americans have embraced William Shakespeare for more than 250 years. He influenced our founding fathers, the philanthropists who created some of our greatest cultural institutions, the pioneers who crossed the vast prairies, and millions of others. The themes of his plays resonate just as strongly today as they did at our founding, and his influence can still be felt in the books we read, the movies and TV shows we watch, our cultural references, and the language we use every day.
Finding Shakespeare in America celebrates this long-standing love affair with the Bard by bringing together hundreds of Shakespeare-related attractions across the United States in a single guidebook that makes it easy to explore and celebrate Shakespeare’s American legacy.
More than 200 festivals and theater companies devoted to the Bard
More than 100 places to enjoy outdoor Shakespeare performances
More than 40 Shakespeare and Elizabethan gardens
Precious First Folios and other rare copies of the Bard’s works
Striking replicas of Elizabethan theaters
Buildings in America that stood in England during Shakespeare’s lifetime
Statues, stained glass, and other artwork featuring the Bard and his characters
Resources to help educators and parents introduce young people to the Bard
And much more!
Finding Shakespeare in America is the perfect traveling companion and the perfect way to add more Shakespeare to your life, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and everywhere in between.
A note to readers: I spent hundreds of hours conducting research for Finding Shakespeare in America. Nevertheless, I’m sure I missed some theater companies, festivals, museums, and other sites that would have been great additions to the book. And since the world is a dynamic place, information in the book is subject to change. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions and updates for the next edition.
For more Shakespeare, visit my Pinterest page to explore boards on finding Shakespeare in America and American Shakespeare gardens.
On Sundays, you’ll often find me enjoying #ShakespeareSunday on Twitter. Everyone is welcome to participate, and it’s a great way to connect with other Shakespeare fans.
Finding Shakespeare in America was released in February 2020 and I’m hard at work on Finding Scotland in America and Finding Ireland in America. Finding England in America won’t be far behind.
Here’s a look at some of my other writing
Eating British in America
My monthly Anglotopia column, Eating British in America, highlights restaurants, pubs, shops, and other places across the United States where readers can enjoy authentic English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish food.
Some column highlights include:
You’ll also find seasonal food celebrations, such as my columns on hearty autumn fare and favorite British Christmas foods.
You can read all my Eating British in America columns at Anglotopia.net. Anglotopia is a great source for articles on British history and culture, travel information, and news from Great Britain. It reaches a global audience of thousands of readers each month, many of them based in the US.
We Should All Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday: This article highlights Shakespeare’s tremendous impact on American life and provides ideas for celebrating this legacy.
Are you looking for programs that bring the history and culture of the British Isles to life? Are you interested in learning how to explore England, Scotland, Ireland, and Shakespeare right here in the United States, no passport or plane ticket required?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
I’ve made numerous visits to Great Britain and Ireland and I’ve spent more than 30 years traveling across the United States and Canada seeking out places with links to the British Isles. My presentations draw on this rich body of knowledge to help audiences learn more about the British Isles and discover the many rewarding encounters they can have with England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Shakespeare here in America.
I’ve given presentations for dozens of non-profit and civic organizations, professional associations, and educational organizations over the past 30 years. The public speaking experience I’m most proud of is the architectural and historical tours I gave as a volunteer at Benjamin Franklin House in London in 2015.
Here’s a small sample of responses to my presentations:
“Very informative and interesting presentation”
“You were a joy to work with”
“The insights you shared with us are most valuable and appreciated”
“The experience was a true learning one”
“I came away knowing some new and interesting things”
“Thank you again for all your ideas”
I book presentations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin year-round.
In addition, my research often takes me to other parts of the country, and I’m happy to schedule talks during those trips. A typical presentation lasts about 45-60 minutes including Q & A, but I can modify it to meet your needs.
As well as the programs listed below, I have a 15-20 minute Short Shakespeare program that’s perfect for pre-show talks at theaters and festivals.
Please contact me and I’ll get in touch with you to discuss my presentations and availability.
Finding the British Isles in America
This program highlights attractions and activities that will help your audience enrich their lives with English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish experiences in the United States, no passport or plane ticket required.
I can showcase the “best of British” across the US or in a specific region of the country. I can also tailor this program to focus on English, Scottish, or Irish sites in the US.
This talk is great for Anglophiles, travel enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone interested in exploring their cultural heritage.
Finding Shakespeare in America (Talk #1)
You don’t have to go all the way to England to enjoy the Bard. I'll give your audience great insider tips on finding Shakespeare across America.
They’ll learn about fabulous festivals, Elizabethan-style theaters, authentic Tudor buildings, beautiful Shakespeare gardens, libraries with precious copies of the rare First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, and much more.
This talk is great for Shakespeare and theater fans, history buffs, Anglophiles, and travel enthusiasts.
Finding Shakespeare in America (Talk #2)
America’s relationship with the Bard stretches back to colonial times, when his works influenced our founding fathers. As the country grew, we brought Shakespeare to the prairies of Illinois and Nebraska, the cow towns of Texas and Kansas, and the gold fields of California and Alaska.
During the 19th and early 20th century, theater troupes crossed the country performing Shakespeare’s plays, and hundreds of clubs and societies sprang up to study his works, many of them started by women. The Bard continues to influence America today, often in surprising ways. This program shares highlights from our longstanding love affair with Shakespeare.
This program is great for Shakespeare and theater fans, history buffs, travel enthusiasts, and educators.
Finding Shakespeare in the Garden
Shakespeare mentioned more than 180 types of flowers, trees, fruits, vegetables, and herbs in his plays and sonnets, and Shakespeare gardens have been created all over the world to honor his love of nature.
This program looks at the typical elements of a Shakespeare garden and explores some of the more than three dozen Shakespeare gardens in America. I also share ideas for adding a bit of the Bard to your own backyard.
This talk is great for Shakespeare fans, gardeners, and travel enthusiasts.
Gilded Age Buccaneers:
How America’s Heiresses Stormed the British Aristocracy
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of American heiresses crossed the Atlantic in search of titled husbands. These daughters of self-made millionaires didn’t have blue blood, but they did have parents who were willing to pay huge dowries to aristocratic British families that desperately needed cash to maintain their crumbling estates and privileged lifestyles.
This talk introduces the headstrong young women who married into a third of Great Britain’s most aristocratic families, pumped the equivalent of $1.5 billion dollars into its economy, and left an indelible mark on the British landscape.
This talk is great for Downton Abbey fans, history buffs, and Anglophiles.
At Home in the Country:
The American Country Place Era
Fabulous Italian villas, elaborate French châteaux, and stately Tudor manor houses – in America? In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the self-made millionaires of America’s Industrial Age showed off their new-found wealth by building magnificent country estates. They scoured Europe for antiques, artwork, and inspiration, and returned home determined to create stately homes that were grounded in historic architecture and filled with carefully hidden modern conveniences.
The result was a series of opulent mansions from coast to coast. This program explores the lavish lifestyles of the families that built them and highlights some stunning mansions that are open to the public.
This talk is great for history and architecture buffs, Downton Abbey fans, and travel enthusiasts.
In addition to these programs I also have a 15-20 minute Short Shakespeare program that’s perfect for pre-show talks at theaters and festivals.
Please contact me to inquire about speaking, writing articles, or to request a media kit:
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more updates and tips.
My Pinterest page is overflowing with Anglophile inspiration, including boards dedicated to Anglophile America, Shakespeare in America, classic British foods, and English cottage gardens.