August 20, 2012

After a Smashing Debut, Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Park District Plan to Expand Chicago Shakespeare In the Parks Next Summer

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Following a successful run at 10 parks throughout the City, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District plan to bring back and expand the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program that was presented this summer with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Boeing Company.  The goal next year is to increase the number of parks presenting performances and communities receiving exposure to live, professional theater.

“Like thousands of Chicagoans this week, my family and I had the chance to enjoy a world-class Shakespearean performance right in the heart of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “On behalf of the entire city, I want to thank the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and everyone involved in the productions as well as the sponsors for making Chicago’s neighborhood parks come alive with the thrill and magic of live theatre.  Based on the resounding success of this year’s performances, I am aiming to expand Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks to more locations, serving additional neighborhoods across the city.  I look forward to another stellar year when every resident and every family can experience the entertainment and enrichment that brought delight to thousands of Chicagoans of every age this year.”

This summer, 17 performances of The Taming of the Shrew played to more than 10,000 people outdoors from July 29-Aug. 19.  From Portage Park to Humboldt Park and Austin to South Shore, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks broke down barriers to arts participation and gave Chicagoans direct access to cultural resources by bringing free Shakespeare performances into communities.

“The performances were wildly popular, drawing diverse and enthusiastic audiences at each performance,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly.  “We hope to expand the number of performances next year in an effort to reach additional communities.”

“The success of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is a tremendous boost to our efforts to bring more arts programming to all neighborhoods,” said Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner, Michelle T. Boone.  “Chicago's vast parks system, with its many different venues in all neighborhoods, provides the perfect platform to experience the arts in new ways and this effort proves that when available, the people will come.”

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company partnered to launch Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. The lead sponsor was BMO Harris Bank.  Neighborhood partners include Madison Dearborn Partners and Sara Lee Foundation.

Details on summer 2013 programming will be announced at a later date. For more information on the Chicago Park District, call 312.742.PLAY or visit


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