Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks 2014 Tour Kicks Off Today
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Boeing partner to present the annual citywide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. This summer, 26 performances of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream travel to 18 neighborhood parks across Chicago, FREE FOR ALL, today, July 18-August 17, 2014. From Hamilton Park and Garfield Park Conservatory to the South Shore Cultural Center and Gage Park, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks activates communities and breaks down barriers to arts participation, giving Chicagoans direct access to their City's cultural treasures. In its third year, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks returns to 18 communities, truly establishing the program as a Chicago summer tradition and deepening relationships with neighbors, community leaders and local businesses.
"Chicago is one of the world's greatest arts and culture capitals, and we're bringing the arts and cultural experiences directly to neighborhoods across the City through performances like Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "One of my favorite Night Out at the Parks events last year was a Shakespeare in the Parks performance in Humboldt Park - people of all ages came together to watch Shakespeare come to life."
Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly affirms "Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has become a tool to reinvigorate our city's neighborhoods, communities and parks. Chicago prides itself on being a city of neighborhoods and the parks are at the center of those communities. To bring a positive experience like Shakespeare into the community-that is great for the City of Chicago."
The citywide tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program, more than 27,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities as a direct result of this partnership.
"Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has become a local symbol of increasing access to and participation in the arts," said Lianne Stein, vice president of Boeing's Global Corporate Citizenship. "This unique partnership among city agencies, community-based organizations, local artists and neighborhood residents is an example of how arts initiatives can engage communities and broaden their perspectives."
The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream, made possible by production sponsor BMO Harris Bank, kicks off at Gateway Park at Navy Pier on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m. Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include: Sunday, July 20-Garfield Park Conservatory; Tuesday, July 22-Tuley Park; Wednesday, July 23 & Thursday, July 24-Dvorak Park; Friday, July 25 & Saturday, July 26-Loyola Park; Sunday, July 27-Washington Park; Tuesday, July 29-Riis Park; Wednesday, July 30-Piotrowski Park; Thursday, July 31-Gage Park; Friday, August 1-Hamilton Park; Saturday, August 2 & Sunday, August 3-Frank J. Wilson Park; Wednesday, August 6 & Thursday, August 7-Humboldt Park; Friday, August 8 & Saturday, August 9-Welles Park; Sunday, August 10-Columbus Park; Tuesday, August 12-Marquette Park; Wednesday, August 13-Ridge Park; Thursday, August 14 & Friday, August 15-South Shore Cultural Center; Saturday, August 16 & Sunday, August 17-Eckhart Park. Performances Tuesday through Saturday begin at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 4:00 p.m. (The Garfield Park Conservatory performance will begin July 20 at 3:00 p.m.). For more information, see www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.
Mark Furlong, CEO of BMO Harris Bank said, "BMO Harris Bank is a long-time sponsor of Chicago's very popular theater community. We are happy to support Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. They have a wonderful mission of making Shakespeare's plays accessible and fun for everyone."
On each stop of the summer tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares the delight of Shakespeare with families and neighbors of all ages. Jeff Award-winning director David H. Bell has re-imagined this perennial favorite into an acrobatic and riotously entertaining delight for all ages. In this popular Shakespearean comedy, a quartet of mismatched lovers, a gaggle of hapless actors and mischievous sprites cross paths with the king and queen of the fairies, entangled in their own domestic dispute. Audiences will be transported to an extraordinary wood brimming with paramours and possibilities where the inexplicable magic of falling in love-and the wonder of waking up from the sweetest of dreams-is discovered.
For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.