Independent Shakespeare Co. Announce FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL 2017

Independent Shakespeare Co. Announce FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL 2017

Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) returns to the Old Zoo at Griffith Park for the 2017 season of its GRIFFITH PARK FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL with two plays by William Shakespeare: MEASURE FOR MEASURE, directed by Melissa Chalsma, with performances June 24 - July 23 and THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, directed by David Melville, with performances July 29 - September 3. ISC is thrilled to return to the Old Zoo to celebrate the 14th season of presenting FREE Shakespeare in Los Angeles Parks! The Old Zoo is located in Griffith Park near the intersection of Crystal Springs Drive and Griffith Park Drive.

Additionally, six years ago, ISC secured rehearsal and administrative space at the Atwater Arts + Innovation Complex (ATX) and launched Independent Studio, comprising an intimate performance space/rehearsal hall and offices.

Through experimentation, the Studio evolved into a venue where we develop new works, explore performance techniques for classical plays, teach classes, and create the productions of the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

Continuing on a trajectory of growth fueled by the overwhelming success of the summer Festival and the strategic thinking done regarding the indoor facility, this fall ISC will re-imagine our year-round offerings by taking up residence in an new, expanded space in ATX. The much-larger Studio will be designed as a flexible venue, serving as a multi-purpose and multi-disciplinary laboratory. The expanded facility includes a flexible performance space which can serve from 50 - 110 people, audience interaction areas including a small art gallery, administrative offices, and back stage areas including dressing rooms and a costume shop. Comments Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma, "Independent Studio is a home for ISC to explore innovative ways to connect and engage with our audiences and support ISC artists and the work they do more deliberately and with greater institutional resources. We look forward to welcoming both audiences and artists into this next act for ISC, one that is both exciting and full of new possibility."


Managing Director David Melville says, "MEASURE FOR MEASURE is one of Shakespeare's most modern plays. It looks at the conflict between strict moralism and unfettered hedonism-and asks what happens when rigid ideologues actually gain access to the reins of power. Audiences can expect a lot of food for thought mixed in with quite bawdy humor and some of the most vibrant characters Shakespeare ever created. Much as the play is full of unexpected twists, the set for this production will include hidden doorways, unusual entrances, and unexpected openings. THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA is a wonderfully upbeat coming-of-age comedy in which four young people struggle to define themselves while dealing with the complicated feelings of early adulthood. The cast features multi-talented artists who will not only be acting, but also creating the live musical accompaniment to the production. The musical style will highlight the journey the characters take, starting with a more naive and innocent early-pop sound and transitioning to down-and-dirty rockabilly.

"As always, both productions will be raucously entertaining while respecting the complexity and beauty of the language; in both productions, look for the play to take place not just onstage but throughout the audience area!"

Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma adds, "In 2010 we relocated our summer Festival of free performances from Barnsdall Park to Griffith Park so we could serve more audience members and expand our offerings. Just seven years later, I find it astonishing how it has grown. Attendance has risen over 400%- this summer, 50,000 Angelenos will be in our audience and we will employ 40 people, plus offer additional internship opportunities for 15 students. And the Festival itself has matured into a multi-faceted celebration of theater and community. In addition to the main stage productions, we have workshops for families, pre-show performances that range from modern dance to mariachi, and interactive audience events relating to the plays as well to the broader experience of being an Angeleno.

"This summer, there will be only one place in Los Angeles you'll be able to take a swing-dancing class, register to vote, then sit down to experience a rockabilly-infused production of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, while sharing your picnic with a group of strangers on the blanket next to you. And that's at the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival."

In addition to the performances, ISC will again present an expansive offering of events. Players in the Park/Teatristas en el parque (PIP) family education workshops on select evenings. 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. The Salon Series are discussions led by experts in the field. And Festival Arts Partners are local performing artists presenting pre-show performances. This season's guests include Invertigo Dance Theatre and La Victoria. Additional community engagement events will be presented throughout the summer.

Specific dates for performances, education workshops and special events are listed on ISC's website:


GRIFFITH PARK FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL will begin June 24 with MEASURE FOR MEASURE, followed by THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA beginning July 29. All Performances are FREE! The festival is located in The Old Zoo at Griffith Park (near 4730 Crystal Spring Dr.) GPS Coordinates of the parking area: 34*8.034'N, 118* 17.100'W Visit or call (818) 710-6306 for directions and information.

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