The Shakespeare Scene Festival was started by Professor Roslyn L. Knutson, Department of English, in imitation of a program at the Folger Shakespeare Library parented by Peggy O’Brien and Janet Field-Pickering. The impetus was a workshop given by Janet at UALR in October 1997.
- The SSF got fully underway on the UALR campus on March 12, 1998 with classes from three high schools (Bryant, Marcia Key, instructor; Parkview, Judy Goss and Jerry Cook, instructors; Robinson, Lori Delk, instructor), one junior high (Southwest, Carolyn Jennings, instructor), and one elementary school (Meadow Park, Rick Kron, instructor). There were also performances by UALR students in English and Theater. Scenes from six plays by Shakespeare were presented, as well as a collage of love scenes across the plays.
- The SSF continued as a one-day event in 1999 (3/11), and several new schools took part: North Pulaski High (Patricial Whitaker, Instructor), Dunbar Junior High (Darrel Carr, Instructor), Ridgeroad Middle School (Julia Markham, Instructor). Bryant HS returned (now also with Susie Fowler, instructor), as did Meadow Park, Robinson, and Parkview.
- The SSF expanded to a two-day schedule in 2000 and 2001. In these years, the following schools were new participants one or more times: Fuller JH (Jane Ledbetter), Northwood JH (Glenda Moring), J. A. Fair (Danyell Cummings and Carmelita King), Mills HS (Cindy Holmes and Marsha Pratt), and Oak Grove JH/HS (Manual Twillie, Chad Cummings, and Theodora Johnson), Mann MS (Olympia Smith), Cathedral HS (Tandy Cobb). Peggy Whitten began a long run with Dunbar students; and Julia Markham (North Little Rock-West) and Jane Ledbetter (Mills) continued theirs at different schools, as Rick Kron was to do at Belwood Elementary in 2006.
- The SSF expanded to three days, 2003-2008. Though it sustained some losses of schools and teachers during this period, it gained others: Hot Springs MS (April Gentry-Sutterfield), Jacksonville JH (Nancy Archer), Mann (Roxie Hannah), J. A. Fair (LaPara Washington, Dora Washington, Jenny Plumley, Cristin DuBose, Christina Cereghini), Poplar Street MS (Keri Bone), NLR-West (Mike Mueller, Kathy Gray), LR Central HS (Heather Newsam, Helen Strickland, Kimberly Dade), Sylvan Hills MS (Elizabeth Foster), St. Edward’s Catholic (Greg De Rossitte), Episcopal Collegiate (Mike Mueller), Arkansas School for the Deaf (Judi Ann Morgan), Beebe High School (Stephen Andrews), Robinson MS (Patty Jolliff, Jeri Shire), Dunbar (Rachelle Miller), Northwood (Della Curran), HomeSchool Academy Theater (April Gentry-Sutterfield), Academics Plus (Bill Jones), and Parkview (Gail Biggs).
- Bob Scranton provided a display of fencing talent in 2002-03, and James Steed has followed him from 2004 to the present.
- Matilda Buchanan, Mistress of the Revels from the start of the SSF, retired in 2006. Three Revelers have been her able replacement: Yslan Hicks and Stacy Pendergraft, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance; and Paul Yoder, Department of English.
- The Sheffield L. Owings Achievement Award has been given to the following outstanding supporters and participants in the SSF: Amy Skinner, 2000; Marcia Key, 2001; Judy Goss, 2002; Rick Kron, 2003; Julia Markham, 2004; Jane Ledbetter, 2005; Peggy Whitten, 2006; Glenda Moring, 2007; Carl Wick, 2008.