CST shares its unique brand of storytelling with audiences throughout our city, across the country and around the globe. Through partnerships forged with some of the most esteemed institutions and renowned arts festivals, CST artists engage in creative conversation with innovative storytellers and a broad spectrum of theatergoers. To date, our work has traveled to the five continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.
LONDON, EDINBURGH, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY, SOUTH KOREA, POLAND, NEW ZEALAND, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
This fresh urban take on the Bard’s tragedy, spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats, comes from an artistic collaboration forged between Chicago hip-hop artists The Q Brothers and CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. Since its world premiere as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad at Shakespeare’s Globe, it has toured widely, captivating audiences around the world. Over the years, it has garnered tremendous acclaim and honors, including Edinburgh’s Musical Theatre Matters Awards for Best New Musical Theatre Show and Best Lyrics, as well as a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Ensemble.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions
Cultural Olympiad, Globe to Globe Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe—London, England (2012)
Edinburgh Festival Fringe—Edinburgh, Scotland (2012)
Shakespeare Festival im Globe Neuss—Neuss, Germany (2012)
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare—Chicago, Illinois (2013)
Daejeon Arts and Culture Festival—Daejeon, South Korea (2013)
Cook County Jail—Chicago, Illinois (2013)
Unicorn Theatre—London, England (2013)
Sydney Festival—Sydney, Australia (2014)
Gdansk Shakespeare Festival—Gdansk, Poland (2014)
Arts Centre Melbourne—Melbourne, Australia (2015)
Art for All—Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2015)
Abu Dhabi Festival—Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2015)
Auckland Arts Festival—Auckland, New Zealand (2015)
SOUTH AFRICA, EDINBURGH, VANCOUVER
Inspired by true events in the life of an Apartheid activist, South African artist Omphile Molusi’s Cadre made its world premiere in the theater Upstairs at Chicago in February 2013. Since then, it has toured to The Market Theatre of Johannesburg, National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In February 2015, it plays a limited engagement at Vancouver’s The Cultch, British Columbia’s most diverse performance space.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Market Theatre of Johannesburg and Richard Jordan Productions
Following its sold-out world premiere in Chicago during the summer of 2014, Since I Suppose traveled to Australia to play the Melbourne Festival in October 2014. Audience members traverse the city on foot, encountering fragments of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Especially crafted for one person at a time, this extraordinary journey guides audiences through familiar territory in unfamiliar ways.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, one step at a time like this and Richard Jordan Productions
CITY-WIDE TOUR OF CHICAGO
First launched in 2012 through a partnership with the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and leaders of Chicago’s corporate community, this program brings professional Shakespeare productions, free for all, to neighborhoods across the city. Each summer, 25,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome our Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city as a specially equipped truck rolls into each park and unfolds into a pop-up stage. Performances to date have featured some of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies---The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
ANNUAL MIDWEST TOUR
As a dynamic complement to classroom study, we know that there is simply no better way to authentically engage students in Shakespeare than through the unmatched power of live performance. Every season, the abridged Shakespeare productions staged in the Courtyard Theater for students and family audiences also tour to area schools, and following the performance, students engage in a post-show discussion with the cast.
Commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare, the “ad-rap-tation” Funk It Up About Nothin’ was developed by The Q Brothers in collaboration with CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. Receiving local and international acclaim in 2008, the show garnered the Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Ensemble and took home the Dress Circle Award for Best Musical Production in its subsequent run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. During the 2010/11 season, following engagements at Joe’s Pub and Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, it launched an Australian tour at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in Wollongong, New South Wales, marking Chicago Shakespeare’s Australian debut. Afterwards, the production moved to Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, England.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions
Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2
The 2006/07 Season marked not only CST’s 20th Anniversary, but our debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 traveled to Shakespeare’s hometown to take part in the historic, first-ever RSC Complete Works Festival—a year-long celebration presenting the entire Shakespeare canon. One of only three U.S. companies invited to perform at the Festival, CST performed in the Swan Theatre in July 2006, alongside RSC presentations and productions from some of the world’s most respected theater companies.
Romeo and Juliet
As part of the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities initiative, Chicago Shakespeare was selected along with five other professional theater companies to tour nationwide covering all 50 states. Playing in fourteen venues between October and November 2003, Chicago Shakespeare’s production of Romeo and Juliet covered the Midwest and the Southeast corner of the United States, touring to Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It provided the perfect vehicle to introduce new audiences to our unique brand of theatrical storytelling, and created new William Shakespeare fans in the next generation of theatergoers.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Shakespeare in American Communities
In September 2004, Chicago Shakespeare made its New York premiere at the Duke on 42nd Street Theater with Rose Rage, staged by acclaimed British director Edward Hall. Featuring an all-male cast of Chicago-based actors, the production debuted in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare in September 2003 to great critical acclaim before transferring to New York. A startlingly blunt retelling of Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, it traced the monumental events surrounding England’s collapse in the fifteenth century---from the untimely death of warrior-king Henry V to the eruption of the Wars of the Roses---and was presented as a single 5½ hour theatrical event.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The New 42nd Street
In Summer 2003, CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin’s production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s epic musical Pacific Overtures opened on London’s West End at Donmar Warehouse—garnering three Laurence Olivier Awards for Outstanding Musical Production, Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Lighting Design. Originally staged Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare in Fall 2001, where it received Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Musical and Best Director of a Musical, the London production reflected the nature of this first-time collaboration between Chicago Shakespeare and Donmar—featuring a combination of several original Chicago cast members, its musical director, its scenic and costume designers, with some of London’s finest musical theater artists.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Donmar Warehouse