A Stress-Free Guide to Shakespeare This Summer

  • Shakespeare in the Park, the quintessential New York event, offers both atmosphere and ambience alongside a fellow audience of intellectually inclined New Yorkers, all for free. This year, in the very centre of Manhattan, The Delacorte Theatre is presenting King Lear, the classic tale of revenge, tragedy and loss, performed under the stars, which runs until August 17.

    Idyllic as this sounds, demand is exceptionally high and it is more likely that that you will end up standing in line in the blistering heat for hours, only to discover that your chosen performance is sold out. However, do not fear. There are outdoor performances of Shakespeare all across the city that will still allow you your annual fix of Shakespeare at half the effort.

    Take a look at these alternatives and smugly roll your eyes at the hordes waiting outside Central Park, basking in the glory of your academically-refined, offbeat quirkiness.

     

  • The Drilling Company: This summer, in the parking lot at Ludlow and Broome, the Drilling Company performs their last season in their concrete playhouse. The space is about to be swallowed up by a development, which signals the end of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot as we know it. This summer's performances are contemporary adaptations of Twelfth Night and Othello, both described as intrepid, innovative takes on the old classics. Twelfth Night runs until July 26th. Othello will run from July 31st- August 16th. (Photo: Jonathan Slaff)

  • Hip to Hip: In order to celebrate its eighth season of free Shakespeare in the Park, Hip to Hip Theatre Company is presenting two plays this summer: The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the lesser known Cymbeline. The company places an emphasis on outreach to underprivileged communities and hopes to provide its audiences with an unforgettable theatre experience. The plays are touring through parks based in Queens, Southampton and Jersey City. The two plays run from July 23rd-August 7th. Consult their website for schedules and park locations. (Photo: Julian Voloj)

  • Smith Street Stage: This summer, Smith Street Stage, Brooklyn’s fastest growing Shakespeare theatre company, is presenting a raucous performance of Much Ado About Nothing in Carroll Park. Directed by Broadway actor Ben Horner, the play features a live rockband, as well as original music by Michael McQuilken and choreography by Mary Cavette. Much Ado About Nothing runs from July 25th- August 10th. All performances begin at 7pm. (Photo: Chris Montgomery)

  • Boomerang Theatre: For the last 16 years, the award-winning Boomerang Theatre has been producing free Shakespeare productions in parks throughout the city. This summer, in association with Bryant Park Shakespeare, they are presenting the romantic comedy, Love’s Labours Lost. Love’s Labours Lost runs from August 14th-30th in Bryant Park on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm. (Photo: Crystal Arnette)

  • Hudson Warehouse: At the end of July, on an impromptu stage under the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, The Hudson Warehouse will perform The Winter's Tale. Known for their experimental style, their amateur Shakespeare workshops and their propensity to interact with their surrounding environment, the Hudson Warehouse promises to deliver an exceptional and engaging rendition of Shakespeare's comedy. The show will run from July 31st- August 24th from Thursday- Saturday. It starts at 6.30 pm. (Photo: Ben Helmer, Flickr)