The Park Plays- Coming To A Park Near You
Shakespeare in Clark Park, the West Philadelphia based outdoor theater company is announcing an expansion of their work. "The Park Plays" will bring SCP's practice of engaging the community in the theater-making process while bringing free outdoor theater to two parks in Philadelphia neighborhoods in summer 2020. The two parks chosen for productions are Harrowgate Park in North Philadelphia and Vernon Park in Germantown.
At Opening Night of SCP's 2019 production of KING LEAR, SCP Artistic Director Kittson O'Neill, announced the new initiative which is made possible through funding from the William Penn Foundation and works closely with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. The Park Plays is an amplification of SCP's commitment for Radical Community Engagement, which brings community members on-stage with professional actors each year. The Park Plays will see members of artistically underserved communities come together to create their own new plays inspired by SCP's July 2020 production of Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Citizen-artists from the chosen communities will work with a team of professional directors, writers, designers and actors to collaboratively create these unique productions.
"We are thrilled to bring the marriage of artistic excellence and community partnership that makes Shakespeare in Clark Park so special to other communities across the city. We can't wait to hear your stories," said Kittson O'Neill, Artistic Director.
The Park Plays' mission is three-fold: to expand access to and engagement with Philadelphia theater and Shakespeare's works; to foster connections between disparate members of local communities; and, to contribute more robustly to the national theater conversation. By producing works inspired by Shakespeare, but centering the language, experiences and responses on our local creators, SCP hopes to create a deep and thoughtfully curated process for profound connections among members of a singular community as well as members of greater Philadelphia. It will further SCP's goal of keeping Shakespeare accessible and relevant, creating theater by, for and with the people of Philadelphia.
SCP and its artists will serve as a catalyst for discussions, responses and inspiration as community members create their original piece. The Harrowgate Park playwill be directed by Sam Tower(Ninth Planet) and written by Zandra Espinoza(PlayPenn, Azuka Theatre). The Vernon Park play will be directed by Nell Bang-Jensen(Theatre Horizon) and written by James Ijames(Kill Move Paradise).
The performances, like all of SCP's shows, will be free of charge and there will be no cost to the community to create the new works. The Park Plays will take place in June and August, with Shakespeare in Clark Park's performance taking place as always in July.
For more information on The Park Play, please visit shakespeareinclarkpark.org/theparkplays.