The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival began in 1977 with a budget of under $100,000. Today, just twelve years later, the budget measures $1.1 million. For a non-profit organization that growth is impressive. Along with growth in the budget there’s been significant growth in other areas: the first season consisted of twenty-four performances and lasted four weeks. This season the Main Stage Series alone presents 43 performances in three separate cities, and the Festival is a year-round operation.