Free Shakespeare in the Parks

Since 1971, CenterStage in Lake Forest has been an active part of the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff community, usually performing in Lake Forest’s Gorton Community Center. True, our early performances, under the group mantle of Group For…. ,  47 years ago, were at Lake Forest’s Church of the Holy Spirit.

In any event, before 2017, we never tried to take a show on tour.

For the last three summers, Board Member Barbara Anderson has done just that. Assembling a cast of classically trained actors, she premiered our Shakespeare in the Parks Tour. The experiment was so popular with our local audiences that we plan each year to bring a special, 80-minute adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays to our audiences’ own proverbial backyards: primarily to parks in Lake Forest and the Village Green of Lake Bluff, but to other Lake County parks as well.

And it’s free. It’s our thank you to Lake Forest and Lake Bluff for their ongoing support, and it’s our gift to other communities to encourage them to join our CenterStage in Lake Forest family.

Why Shakespeare?

In the past CenterStage in Lake Forest produced Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter’s celebrated backstage musical version of The Taming of the Shrew) and the hilarious comedy The Complete William Shakespeare—Abridged. However, ever since Barat College’s Summer Shakespeare series closed, our community has missed seeing high-quality outdoor summer productions of Shakespeare’s plays. CenterStage in Lake Forest has donned that mantle.

Indeed, we join Shakespeare himself who took his acting troupe, The King’s Men, out of hot, crowded, and disease-ridden London each summer to tour England’s lovely countryside.

Welcome to CenterStage in Lake Forest’s Shakespeare in the Parks.

The program’s creator, Barbara Anderson, studied Medieval and Renaissance literature in college and graduate school, taught and directed the Bard’s plays for 31 years at New Trier High School, and has worked with CenterStage in Lake Forest since 1987. She is delighted to spearhead this new adventure for a wonderful theatre group that hopes to serve you for many years to come.

Click here to read about our 46th Season’s Free Shakespeare in the Parks production of The Gulling of Malvolio.

Click here to read about our 47th Seasons’s Free Shakespeare in the Parks production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Click here to read about our 48th Seasons’s Free Shakespeare in the Parks production of As You Like It.