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Chicago Shakespeare joins with community art partners to present ShakesFest

Chicago Shakespeare

Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins with arts partners in Austin, Chinatown, Englewood, Little Village, West Town/Ukrainian Village, and West Pullman to present this summer’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks event—ShakesFest: A Chicago Shakespeare Community Cabaret.

This free theatrical event unites performers, musicians, and dancers in an exuberant musical revue of songs inspired by Shakespeare’s words, spanning styles ranging from pop and hip hop to Broadway and the Blues. Pop-up performances will take place in Chicago Park District parks in each of the six partner communities, through July 23, 2022.


Created and performed in partnership with local artists and arts organizations, this Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks event is rooted in direct engagement with communities and imbued with a collaborative spirit. ShakesFest is directed by Malkia Stampley with music direction by Shraman Ghosh. Longtime Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks performer Danielle Davis is the production’s Assistant Director and Community Partner Liaison.

ShakesFest concept creation by Bob Mason. Arts partners include Jose “iasEL” Gonzalez, DJ Jeremy Heights, James Heitz, Emma Lyons, Noelle Klyce, Move Me Soul, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and Yin He Dance.

This summer’s creative collaboration will culminate in free pop-up performances of ShakesFest: A Chicago Shakespeare Community Cabaret at parks located in each of the partner communities:

  • Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. – West Pullman Park (401 W. 123rd St.) in West Pullman.
  • Friday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. – Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.) in West Town/Ukrainian Village.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance.

  • Saturday, July 16 at 6:30 p.m. – Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.) in Little Village.
  • Thursday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. – Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.) in Austin.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance.

  • Friday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. – Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.) in Englewood.
  • Saturday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. – Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.) in Chinatown.

Audio-described performance.

Assistive-listening devices (ALDs) are available at all locations.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is an important component of the Theater’s Community Practice, a year-round community connectivity program. Since its establishment in 2012, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has been fueled by the transformative power of neighborhood-based partnerships—and has built a network between more than 600 civic, cultural, and corporate partners and thousands of artists.

A PARTICIPANT ENJOYS the festivities. Photo by Liz Lauren.

The reimagining of this annual summer tradition expands the program’s social impact by intentionally centering the process on equitable and inclusive collaboration. In addition to the annual Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production, the program aims to offer professional development and employment opportunities and to foster year-long engagements with neighborhood-based arts organizations to jointly offer advocacy initiatives, workshops, classes, and community-building events.

More information about this summer’s program can be found at 


Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as 20 productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of 18.

As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.

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