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BWW Preview: SHAKESPEARE IN YOSEMITE Highlights the Best of John Muir and William Shakespeare


Celebrate Earth Day and Shakespeare's Birthday by taking a road trip up to Yosemite National Park for a unique presentation that celebrates both on April 22 & 23.

SHAKESPEARE IN YOSEMITE is a joint project between the National Park Service, University of Warwick (U.K.), and the University of CA, Merced. The free one-hour performances take place at 2pm and 5:30pm both days in Yosemite's Lower River and Half Dome Village amphitheaters in Yosemite Valley. Best of all, admission to Yosemite National Park will be free the weekend of the event, in honor of National Park Week!

SHAKESPEARE IN YOSEMITE combines theatre and music to create a show that brings to life the imaginative worlds of two of the best nature writers in the English language: William Shakespeare and John Muir. Its purpose is to convey the importance of art and storytelling in the battle to save the environment.

The project is co-directed and produced by Shakespeare scholars Katherine Steele Brokaw of UC Merced and Paul Prescott of the University of Warwick (U.K.). Featured in the cast are longtime John Muir portrayer and scholar Lee Stetson, National Park Service Ranger Shelton Johnson, and actors from UC Merced, Merced College, University of the Pacific, the University of Warwick, Merced Shakespearefest and other Central Valley Theatre communities.

"SHAKESPEARE IN YOSEMITE reflects the ingenuity of UC Merced's artistic community and the National Park Service," UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. "Our partnership with Yosemite National Park is unparalleled - we conduct research dedicated to natural resource management and environmental education, we have an impressive student Yosemite Leadership Program, and now we are able to showcase the incomparable beauty of Yosemite National Park through our arts program."

The program, which is appropriate for all ages, provides free public education about Shakespeare and Muir while highlighting themes of ecology and sustainability. Printed scripts will be available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

"Shakespeare himself never got to see Yosemite, but pairing his scenes and speeches about nature with the writing of John Muir has shown how well his words address the majesty of that place," says Brokaw. "Bringing the great American tradition of Shakespeare in the Park to Yosemite is the perfect way to celebrate both the vitality of the arts and the beauty of our National Parks."

Seán Hand, dean of the University of Warwick's new graduate school in Roseville, adds, "This is a fantastic initiative to make Shakespeare accessible to an international audience, and is a great example of the rich and new partnership opportunities open to us in developing our presence in California."

The show is supported by the National Parks Institute at UC Merced, the UC Merced Office of the Chancellor, the UC Merced Center for the Humanities, the University of Warwick, and Misfit Press. For more information, please visit: ucmerced.edu/shakespeare.

Visitors should plan their trips in advance and arrive before 9am as parking areas throughout the park are expected to fill early in the day. Visitor parking will be available at the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area, located near Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4, and at Half Dome Village. Visitors are encouraged to park and utilize the free park shuttle to get to the Yosemite Valley Village and Visitor Center.

Public transportation is also available via YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) buses, which run multiple times daily and provide visitors with a safe and convenient way to visit the park. Updated travel information is available here.

Photos by BlueRoad Photography



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