Familiarization with classic works of art is a staple of good education. Educators, including homeschooling parents, should note the benefits of getting children interested in stories and performing arts such as the theater from a young age. In New York City it is especially easy to do this due to the wealth of artistic revenues that are readily available. Granted, a night at the theater can cost more money than many families have…and that is why FREE programs such as The Public Theater’s “Shakespeare in the Park” are such a popular and necessary reality.
“Shakespeare in the Park” provides all New Yorkers with the opportunity to see Shakespeare plays performed live at the Central Park Theater, known as the Delacorte Theater, completely free of charge. Throughout the late-Spring and Summer Shakespeare classics are performed for audiences—sometimes with famous actors and actresses in the starring roles. Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and Al Pacino have all acted in the Public Theater’s productions on the Delacorte stage and many more established performing artists are sure to appear in the coming seasons.
The chance at seeing world famous stars free of charge has made Shakespeare in the park wildly popular. Although the performances take place at night, anyone who wishes to purchase a ticket is encouraged to get to the park early in the morning to wait on line or to access the Internet database as soon as the tickets go on sale. Tickets can only be purchased at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park or via the virtual ticketing system on the theater company’s website on a first come first served basis.
According to the Mission Statement on The Public Theater’s website:
“As the nation’s foremost theatrical producer of Shakespeare and new work, The Public Theater is dedicated to achieving artistic excellence while developing an American theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays, musicals and innovative stagings of the classics. Toward this effort, The Public continues to be guided by a philosophy of inclusion, which takes on many forms – non-traditional casting of productions, education and development initiatives for artists from diverse backgrounds, outreach to students and audiences throughout New York City’s five boroughs, humanities endeavors that provide a social and cultural context for the works we present, and main-stage productions that reflect and speak to the issues and interests of our surrounding community. Ticket prices for performances are kept low or free of charge in order to attract a broad audience, and every performance space is handicap accessible, with free sign language-interpreted and open-captioned performances offered during summer productions. The Public’s programming also cultivates connections among its many constituencies – between artists and audiences and across ethnicities, ages and experiences. These connections are fundamental to the work of the institution as well as to the development of future artists and audiences, and thus the health of the theater community as a whole.”
Securing tickets to a “Shakespeare in the Park” production is not guaranteed due to the high demand and limited supply. However, it is an experience that is worth trying for as the performances are always top-notch and the words and plotlines are still as entertaining as they were when Shakespeare first wrote them centuries ago. On May 28, 2013, the first performance of “The Comedy of Errors” will begin. As a comedy, it is a play that is highly entertaining and is a great way to get those who are new to the works of Shakespeare—including slightly older children—familiar with his style in an enjoyable and memorable way.
The city has much to offer its inhabitants and free theatrical performances are one of the perks of the city’s lively arts scene that should not be ignored. For more information about “Shakespeare in the Park” visit the official website: http://www.shakespeareinthepark.org/