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Elm Shakespeare Company Announces 'Special Edition' of Summer Shakespeare in Edgerton Park

There will be four' Secret Garden Parties' to enjoy between June and September, replacing the company's annual gala for those folks missing a good party in the park.

Elm Shakespeare Company Announces 'Special Edition' of Summer Shakespeare in Edgerton Park

This week, Elm Shakespeare Company announced a "Special Edition" of Summer Shakespeare in Edgerton Park, a beloved 25-year old tradition for the entire region. Elm has been in deep consultation with the local government and their partners. Notably Southern CT State University and the Actors' Equity Association. The company concluded that its lavishly produced, large-scale professional performances, which attract up to 1,800 people a night, posed too significant a health risk to artists and audience alike. In response, the company has created a 2021 'Special Edition' of Summer Shakespeare. The season offers a host of activities both in-person and online that promises something for everyone.

"It was a tough decision," says Producing Artistic Director Rebecca Goodheart," but in the end, it forced us to do what we do best - get creative. I am incredibly excited for everything that's happening; it's more than we've ever done before!"
The summer kicks off online, Thursdays in May, with the second installment of Elm Shakespeare Company's popular event series Building a Brave New Theatre. Subtitled Holding Space & Giving Voice, the second series continues the conversation started in the fall seeking to understand and amplify marginalized artists and approaches. The series begins with the award-winning, one-person show by veteran Stephan Wolfert, CRY HAVOC!. The show examines both the cost of war and the cost of failing to reintegrate veterans back into their communities. Other events include an exploration of Shakespeare in Spanish by Yale School of Drama students and faculty on May 13th, a reconvening of the BIPOC Director's Forum on May 20th, and an evening of new works by artists of color in response to the traumas of the past year on May 27th. All events happen at 7 pm on Thursdays in May, are accessible to the public at no charge, and are generously sponsored by the Elizabethan Club of Yale University, Webster Bank, and SCSU Theatre. Registration information is available at

Next, Elm Education programs return to in-person this summer with the Players Camp & Teen Camp moving OUTSIDE! The teaching artist team has once again wholly re-imagined the camp experience, working within New Haven Parks and Health Department Covid Safety Protocols, and redesigning the nationally acclaimed curriculum to maximize fun and learning an outdoor environment. The two-week programs for ages 7-12 and the 5-week program for teens are available in Westville & East Rock starting July 5th, 2021, with scholarships available. More information is available at

Then, August 13-15, Elm Shakespeare Company will host the first-ever Youth Shakespeare Festival in Edgerton Park. The company will mount (and remount) as many as five productions from its wide range of education programs over the past year, uniting students from across the region - with the possibility of a few surprise guests. All performances will be free to the public with social distancing and prior registration in Edgerton Park.

Producing Artistic Director Goodheart hinted at the most significant addition of all to the summer Shakespeare experience - a new 'Playhouse' like a stage. "We can't wait to let the cat out of the bag," teases Goodheart, "a major new donor has just made a gift for a beautiful new performing space that we can use going forward. The 'Playhouse' will be a visual game changer for performances in the park. We will reveal all the details about the patron and the look of the new 'portable playhouse' very soon!"

There will be four' Secret Garden Parties' to enjoy between June and September, replacing the company's annual gala for those folks missing a good party in the park. Each event will be unique and limited to just 26 participants - hosted by both generous supporters of Elm Shakespeare, including the hottest new restaurant in Westville, Comacho Garage. Each will feature the same excellent food, beverages, and mini-professional performances.

Elm Shakespeare Company will send invitations and information in mid-May.
Finally, the season will stretch into autumn with the return of Elm Shakespeare's spooky Halloween spectacular. Taste of Fear TWO - the Return of Classic Horror! The show will delight and frighten the brave of heart all through Halloween weekend, transforming Edgerton Park into a haunted walk with performances, trick-or-treating, and more.

Goodheart mused on the changes and what's to come, "There's no loss. There is so much to enjoy together this summer, and I have every confidence that our big show will be back next year. These incredible challenges have allowed us to try new things, make new friends, center new voices. When we come back, as wonderful as it will be, it won't be the same. We all will have changed. We will come back with new perspectives, new voices, and new visions. In the end, it won't just be okay; it will be, and we will be better."

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