Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bard Badges Abound During Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Citywide FREE Tour of The Comedy of Errors

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Program Expanded

Photo by Michael Litchfield.
The cast of The Taming of the Shrew performed for more than 700 people at South Shore Cultural Center on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the launch of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, which toured July 29– August 19, 2012 throughout the Chicago Park District.

July 25–August 25, 2013
27 Performances in 18 Neighborhood Parks

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the expanded Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program as part of the City’s “Night Out in the Parks” initiative. Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and leaders of Chicago’s corporate community partner to expand the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program, after its inaugural success in 2012. 

Photo by Michael Litchfield.
Baptista Minola (Robert Joseph Miller) pronounces a match between his daughter Katherina (Ericka Ratcliff) and Petruchio (Matt Mueller) as Gremio (Mick Weber ) looks on in the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production of The Taming of the Shrew, adapted and directed by Rachel Rockwell, which toured July 29–August 19, 2012 throughout the Chicago Park District.

The citywide tour of The Comedy of Errors travels to neighborhood parks across Chicago, FREE FOR ALL, July 25–August 25, 2013. From Humboldt Park to Garfield and Loyola Park to South Shore, this summer’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will break down barriers to arts participation and give Chicagoans direct access to their City’s cultural resources by bringing 27 free Shakespeare performances into 18 different neighborhood parks.

“Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings Shakespeare to life at Chicago’s Navy Pier, in our neighborhoods and in our schools," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The return of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program will make Chicago’s neighborhood parks come alive with the thrill and magic of live theater. This is a fitting way to honor Shakespeare, and I thank Chicago Shakespeare Theater.”

The expanded citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company. Additional support for the program is provided by production sponsor for The Comedy of Errors BMO Harris Bank and the Chicago Shakespeare Trust, as well as Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to support the Chicago Park District’s programs and provide family activities throughout the city’s parks.

“The arts are essential to building strong communities,” said Lianne Stein, Vice President for Global Corporate Citizenship at Boeing. “This initiative brings innovative arts programming to Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods and supports local artists and arts organizations."

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is inspired by the open air setting in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed more than 400 years ago, and Joseph Papp’s twentieth century American initiative that brought free Shakespeare to urban communities. Beginning its summer tour on July 25 through each of the Park District regions, a specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold and CST actors will perform a 75-minute production of The Comedy of Errors. Staged and adapted by Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer David H. Bell, The Comedy of Errors is one of the Bard’s most popular plays about mistaken identities.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will kick-off at Gateway Park at Navy Pier on Thursday, July 25. Additional parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include Chicago Park District North Region Parks: Frank J. Wilson Park, Loyola Park, Riis Park and Welles Park. Central Region Parks: Eckhart Park, Douglas Park, Dvorak Park, Garfield Park Conservatory, Humboldt Park and Piotrowski Park. South Region Parks: Gage Park, Hamilton Park, Marquette Park, Ridge Park, South Shore Cultural Center, Tuley Park and Washington Park.

Touring to neighborhoods across the City, the free performances of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors will contribute to the activation of parks this summer with programming that attracts families, breaking down barriers to arts participation and encouraging young family members to take part in Chicago’s Summer of Learning program. The initiative represents an innovative public-private coordination to infuse learning into summer programs that young people across the city can attend when school is out of session.

Summer programs throughout the Chicago Park District are participating—including Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, which will offer young audience members an opportunity to learn about the art of storytelling in the context of a professional theatrical production. After seeing the play, students will be prompted to reflect on their experience and respond to their favorite elements of the production through take-home questions printed in the program. Completion of the activities will earn each young person a “Bard Badge.” 

“Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks furthers the Summer of Learning initiative as it will expose youth in our parks to one of the world’s greatest writers,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. “The program also reinforces our commitment to working with our partners to provide citywide cultural programming in our community parks.”
Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines said, “We’re privileged to build on the inaugural success of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks and announce the expanded tour for this year’s production of The Comedy of Errors. We thank Mayor Emanuel for his support of the arts throughout our city and we are absolutely thrilled to be touring one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays that I know will tickle audiences of all ages and motivate students to earn a ‘Bard Badge.’”

For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks. A complete Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks map and schedule may be downloaded here. For more information about “Night Out in the Parks,” visit www.nightoutintheparks.com. For more information about Chicago’s Summer of Learning and earning badges, please visit www.chicagosummeroflearning.org.

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