Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival Returns This Summer

The location is the Dell at the top of the Old Zoo near the intersection of Crystal Springs Drive and Griffith Park Drive.

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival Returns This Summer

Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) announces the anticipated return of an entire summer (10 weeks) of the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival following 2020's virtual season and 2021's shortened season. The location is the Dell at the top of the Old Zoo near the intersection of Crystal Springs Drive and Griffith Park Drive.

Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, directed by Melissa Chalsma, is a rarely performed comedy written by a friend of Shakespeare. Perfect for family audiences, the play is a wild joyride and a love letter to theatrical invention. Audiences at William Shakespeare's Macbeth, directed by David Melville, will be transported to an eerie world where characters appear from behind trees, magic is happening in the woods, and nothing is but what is not.

Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma comments, "This summer, we were surprised to find ourselves back in the Dell while the construction for a permanent stage continues at our usual performance site. Secretly, part of me was pleased because I had fallen in love with the environmental beauty of the intimate and peaceful Dell. This season we've picked two plays that will fit that space perfectly. Knight of the Burning Pestle is a rarely seen comedy that depends on a close relationship between actor and audience. Macbeth, when done in close proximity, harnesses the audience's imagination in spellbinding ways. In both plays, how the audience wraps around the action will blur the lines that separate on stage from off stage, actor from audience. Expect to be transported the moment you enter the Dell.

Managing Director David Melville adds, "This summer we are returning for a second season in the bucolic Dell while the Department of Recreation and Parks continues construction of the permanent performance stage on the lower lawn of the Old Zoo. We're excited to return with a full season of performances and engagement events for the community. Having presented in Griffith Park since 2010, over the years we have grown the Festival to include events to engage, inform and bring joy to our audiences. After last year's curtailed activities we are excited to welcome the community of Los Angeles back for a slate of activities including family workshops, pre-show salons and we're planning two pre-show faires to celebrate the summer."

In addition to the performances, ISC will again present an expansive offering of events. New this year, two Celebrate the Summer Pre-Show Faires with strolling players and family activities will take place Saturday, July 30 and Saturday, August 27. These faires are special evenings to support the continuation of free Shakespeare in the park. Players in the Park/Teatristas en el parque (PIP) family education workshops will take place on Saturday, July 16 before Knight of the Burning Pestle and Sunday, August 14 before Macbeth. These workshops are an interactive, energetic way for families to learn about the evening's performance and to be more engaged in the overall live theater experience. Civic Engagement Nights include voter registration and free stamped postcards to write your elected officials. The Salon Series discussions led by experts in the field is an opportunity to connect with scholars as well as community partners who provide effective support within our neighborhoods. Dress Up Nights are some of the most joyous, personal engagement opportunities and will return with Night of Knights on July 22 and Witches & Kilts on August 18. Additional events will be announced throughout the season.

While construction continues on the permanent Griffith Park Stage at our usual site at the Old Zoo, this summer's performances take place at the Dell at the top of the Old Zoo. The area is a lovely, pastoral location but seating capacity is limited to 450 people. Due to limited seating, attendees are required to register for in advance at General Admission is open, non-reserved seating on the grass on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration and performances are admission-free. Donations gratefully accepted. Registration for all summer performance dates will open Friday, June 24.

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

More Hot Stories For You