One of the most popular events of the summer in Chicago is Shakespeare In The Parks. Presented by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, this free outdoor event tours the city, bringing The Bard to the parks. This year the acclaimed troupe will showcase the playwright's hilarious classic The Comedy of Errors, directed by David H. Bell, at 19 Chicago parks from July 18 through August 18. 

The event starts off in the Polk Bros Park at the foot of Navy Pier, followed by an appearance at Garfield Park. This will be followed by performances at 17 other parks, all over the city!

Related: find more free things to do in Chicago

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, photo by Liz Lauren

Photo by Liz Lauren

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include:

  • Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. | Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Friday, July 19 at 7:00 p.m. | Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Saturday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. |  Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Tuesday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. | Garfield Park (100 N. Central Park Ave.)
  • Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. | Gage Park (2411 W. 55th St.)
  • Thursday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. | Kelvyn Park (4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.)
  • Friday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. | Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.)
  • Saturday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. | Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Sunday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. | Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Tuesday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. | Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.)
  • Wednesday, July 31 at 6:30 p.m. | Tuley Park (501 E. 90th Pl.)
  • Thursday, August 1 at 6:30 p.m. | Dvorak Park (1119 W. Cullerton St.)
  • Saturday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. | RiverEdge Park, Aurora (360 N. Broadway St.)
  • Sunday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. | Ellis  Park (3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.)
  • Tuesday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. | Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
  • Wednesday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. | Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
  • Thursday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m. | Humboldt Park (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.)
  • Friday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m. | Humboldt Park (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. | Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
  • Sunday, August 11 at 6:30 p.m. | Calumet Park (9801 S. Ave. G)
  • Wednesday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. | Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.)
  • Thursday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. | Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.)
  • Friday, August 16 at 6:30 p.m. | Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. | Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Sunday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. | Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.)
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, photo by Chuck Osgood

Photo by Charles Osgood

“We are proud to partner with Chicago Shakespeare Theater to bring free Shakespeare to our beautiful neighborhood parks,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEOMichael P. Kelly. “This beloved theatre experience is truly a highlight of the Year of Chicago Theatre and one of Night Out in the Parks' must-see theatre performances coming to parks citywide this summer."

The citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural, and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing, and production sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program seven years ago, more than 130,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, photo by Michael Litchfield

Photo by Michael Litchfield

"The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program has become a local symbol for increased access to and participation in the arts," said John Blazey, Vice President of Boeing Global Engagement. "This unique partnership among city agencies, community-based organizations, local artists, and neighborhood residents is a powerful example of how support of the arts helps to bring vitality to our communities by engaging families and building connections with one another."

David Casper, U.S. CEO, BMO Financial Group said, “In celebration of the Year of Chicago Theatre, BMO Harris Bank is proud to continue its sponsorship of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. This summer's production of The Comedy of Errors is a wonderful story that has entertained audiences for more than four hundred years. Chicago Shakespeare Theater shares our commitment to ensuring that great theater is accessible to all, and we look forward to partnering with them in bringing this production to neighborhoods across the city.”

Throughout the tour, a specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold and 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 story unfolds when Antipholus and his lifelong servant Dromio find themselves in Ephesus as they search the world over for a twin, lost in infancy. Everywhere they go in this foreign land, complete strangers insist that they’re best of friends. Is everyone here quite mad? Mistaken identities abound, as one bewildering day in Ephesus makes for hilarious complications—and a bewitching theatrical experience.

The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks The Comedy of Errors cast includes Will Allan(Dromio of Syracuse), Amira Danan (Adriana), Meghan Murphy (Aemilia/Courtezan),Andrea San Miguel (Luciana), Drew Shirley (Egeon/Luce/Dr. Pinch), Alec Silver (Dromio of Ephesus), Laurence Stepney (Duke), and ensemble members Wesley Daniel, Nathaniel Elfant, and Max Fabian. Additional casting to be announced. Joining Bell on the creative team is Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Theresa Ham, Projections Designer Mike Tutaj, Sound Designer Christopher M. LaPorte, Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, Assistant Director Eli N. Newell, and Verse Coach Ross Lehman.

In addition to the tour stops in Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will share Shakespeare with a one-night-only performance in Aurora at RiverEdge Park (360 N. Broadway St.) on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.

Partnering with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is offering ASL-interpreted performances at six of the eighteen Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour stops:

  • Sunday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. | Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. | Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
  • Sunday, August 11 at 6:30 p.m. | Calumet Park (9801 S. Ave. G
  • Thursday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. | Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.)
  • Saturday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. | Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Sunday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. | Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.)

Sign-interpreting the performances are Elizabeth Bartlow Breslin and Will Lee. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will also offer an audio-described performance on Sunday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.) for audience members who are blind or have low vision, in which a describer provides a description of visual elements of the production transmitted through headphones. Assistive-listening devices are available for all performances.

For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visitwww.chicagoshakes.com/parks.

Photo courtesy Chicago Shakespeare Theater