A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—featuring plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside education programming for students, teachers, and lifelong learners, and creative community engagement with artists and neighbors across the city.
Founded in 1986, the Theater has evolved and expanded to present as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually and has been honored with numerous national and international awards. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work and has toured its own productions to five continents. Dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers, one in four audience members is under the age of eighteen.
Recognized as a national leader by First Lady Michelle Obama in a 2014 White House ceremony, the Theater’s arts-in-literacy programs support the work in classrooms across the region by bringing words to life onstage for tens of thousands of students each year and through a variety of professional learning opportunities for teachers. The Theater’s free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program celebrates its tenth anniversary in Summer 2021 in partnership with neighborhood organizations across the city.
As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare is committed to approaching its work onstage and in the community with the values of service, ingenuity, and collaboration. The Theater strives to engage today’s artists and audiences in active and critical conversations with the work of its namesake playwright, William Shakespeare.
Located on Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier, Chicago Shakespeare’s campus features the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, and the Thoma Theater Upstairs. Onstage, 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 us.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the city colonially known as Chicago are located on the traditional, unceded tribal lands of many Indigenous nations, including the Council of the Three Fires: the Potawatomi, the Ojibwe, and the Odawa, as well as the Menominee, Ho’Chunk, Miami, Peoria, and Illini Confederacy, peoples who have meaningful connections to this land, the waterways, and to one another. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Indigenous communities who lived here, and those who still do. Today one of the largest urban, Native American communities resides in Chicago, vitally contributing to the life of this city and caring for the surrounding land and waters.
This land acknowledgment is a step towards Chicago Shakespeare’s institutional commitment to address structural inequities in our community. Learn more at chicagoshakes.com/IDEAtoAction.