Chicago Shakespeare Presents SHAKES IN THE CITY: TWELFTH NIGHT

Free pop-up performances and activities across north, west, and south sides of Chicago run July 20–August 18, 2024.

By: Jul. 02, 2024
Chicago Shakespeare Presents SHAKES IN THE CITY: TWELFTH NIGHT
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced Shakes in the City, part of CST's longstanding commitment to creative community engagement offering free and accessible programming for audiences of all ages in neighborhoods across Chicago.

This initiative is a new evolution of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, launched by CST in 2012. Shakespeare's joyful comedy Twelfth Night is brought to vibrant new life with 22 free pop-up performances and activities in green spaces, neighborhood festivals, and events across the city.

“If music be the food of love, PLAY ON!” Separated from her twin brother in a shipwreck and washed ashore in an unfamiliar land, the spirited Viola disguises herself as a man to work for charming Duke Orsino—and finds herself in the middle of a love triangle of hilarious mistaken identities. Director Tyrone Phillips, a first-generation Jamaican American, reimagines Twelfth Night in the Caribbean isles, infused with the music and playful spirit of Carnival. Enjoy this immersive 45-minute pop-up performance and engage with artists in hands-on activities inspired by the play.

Phillips shared: “I couldn't be more excited to work on this new chapter of CST's community programming and partner in its reimagining. Chicago is my home, and I love creating here. This is a city that gets what it means to be a human, what it means to be a neighbor, and to bring this warm and joyful play that is fundamentally about community directly to people across the city in this new way is really special.”

“Launching Shakes in the City with Tyrone Philips helming such a talented company is a truly exciting proposition,” said CST artistic director Edward Hall. “Free pop-up Shakespeare will bring a new reach to our community work as we wrap around neighborhoods and festivals and prove that there is no environment in which we can't play.”

Phillips has a long history with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and credits his early high school experience seeing Shakespeare in the Courtyard Theater among the reasons he chose to pursue a career in theater. He is the founding artistic director of Chicago's Definition Theatre and has credits in myriad positions at CST, most recently directing last season's acclaimed Twelfth Night. Other recent credits include directing The Royale at American Players Theatre and Fairview at Definition Theatre. Phillips is currently adjunct faculty at DePaul University and the University of Illinois - Chicago while also serving on the Board of Directors for the League of Chicago Theaters.

 Along with Phillips, the creative team also includes music director Robert Reddrick, production designer Beth Laske-Miller, stage manager Katrina Herrmann, and assistant stage manager Gianni Carcagno. The acting ensemble features Yaw Agyeman (Sir Toby/Priest), Ernest Lee Bentley (Orsino), Tafadzwa Diener (Maria), Dennis William Grimes (Sir Andrew), Charence Higgins (Viola), Weléla Mar Kindred (Olivia), Jamaque Newberry (Malvolio/Captain/Antonio), and Juwon Tyrel Perry (Feste/Sebastian).

Shakes in the City will engage with 22 neighborhoods this summer:  Albany Park, Austin, Belmont Cragin, Bronzeville, Chinatown, Garfield Park, Garfield Ridge, Hermosa, Lincoln Square, North Lawndale, Oakland, Pilsen, Pullman, Rogers Park, South Lawndale, South Shore, Streeterville, Douglas, West Englewood, West Pullman, Wicker Park/Bucktown, and Woodlawn.

Select engagements will feature Afro-Caribbean inspired dance and movement workshops with teaching artist Sadira Muhammad, who served as the movement director for CST's Fall 2023 production of Twelfth Night. Muhammad has worked in Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, and her Chicago credits include working with House Theater of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, and more. She spent 10 seasons with Dance Africa Chicago, training with 20 companies of artists across the diaspora. Muhammad's movement workshops will take place at the following Shakes in the City dates: July 21, 23, 27, and 28 and August 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, and 17.

Many of the summer performance locations are featured as part of Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks. Since its inception in 2013, Night Out in the Parks has provided thousands of hours of safe, diverse, and unique arts programming where artists and audiences can connect and celebrate Chicago's rich cultural tapestry in neighborhood parks. NOITP produces free cultural events annually in all 77 community areas of Chicago.

In addition to Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks, Shakes in the City is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, and Peoples Gas Community Fund.

For more information, visit


* ASL Duo-interpreted


Sat, July 20 at 6:00 p.m.
Polk Bros Park at front of Navy Pier 
600 E. Grand Ave.


Sun, July 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Polk Bros Park at front of Navy Pier 
600 E. Grand Ave.


Tue, July 23 at 5:30 p.m.
Jackson Park
In partnership with Definition Theatre
6401 S. Stony Island Ave.


Wed, July 24 at 7:00 p.m.
Lot Jams
Community Laundromat 
3701 W. Lawrence Ave.
Albany Park 


Fri, July 26 at 6:00 p.m.
Movies in the Parks: Paw Patrol
Ping Tom Park
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.


Sat, July 27 at 11:30 a.m.
Words of Wonder Literary Fest
Dr. Conrad Worrill 
Track & Field Center
10101 S. Cottage Grove Ave.


Sat, July 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Wicker Park Fest
Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Ashland Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown


Sun, July 28 at 3:45 p.m.
Fiesta Del Sol
Cermak Rd. from Ashland Ave. to Morgan St.


Tue, July 30 at 6:00 p.m.
Movies in the Parks: The Color Purple
Rosenblum Park
7547 S. Euclid Ave.
South Shore 


Wed, July 31 at 6:00 p.m.
Movies in the Parks: The Wiz
South Shore Cultural Center
7059 S. South Shore Dr.
South Shore


Thu, August 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Piotrowski Park
In partnership with Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
4247 W. 31st St.
South Lawndale


Fri, August 2 at 6:00 p.m. *
Movies in the Parks: Wish
Ellis Park
3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.


Sat, August 3, time TBA
North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council's Annual Arts Festival
Douglass Park
1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
North Lawndale


Tue, August 6 at 5:30 p.m.
Austin Town Hall Park
In partnership with Move Me Soul
5610 W. Lake St.


Wed, August 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Wild Wednesdays
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Garfield Park


Thu, August 8, time TBA
Back to School Party
Welles Park
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Lincoln Square


Fri, August 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Bronzeville Summer Nights
Location TBA


Sat, August 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Kelvyn Park
4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.


Wed, August 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Movies in the Parks: Soul
Murray Park
743 W. 73rd St.
West Englewood


Thu, August 15 at 5:30 p.m.
West Pullman Park
401 W. 123rd St.
West Pullman


Sat, August 17 at 1:00 p.m. *
Garfield Park
100 N. Central Park Ave.
Garfield Park


Sun, August 18 at 3:30 p.m.
Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
1358 W. Morse Ave.
Rogers Park 


A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside education programming for students, teachers, and lifelong learners, and engagement with communities across the city. Located on Chicago's iconic Navy Pier, CST's campus features the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater, The Yard, and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Upstairs Studio. Onstage, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural center—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire..


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