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Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the City of Chicago Celebrate Shakespeare’s 449th Birthday—Mayor Emanuel Proclaims Tuesday, April 23 Talk Like Shakespeare Day www.TalkLikeShakespeare.org

Civic, Cultural and Corporate Partnership Announces Expanded Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Program With Citywide Tour of The Comedy of Errors

FREE FOR ALL July 26–August 25, 2013

Chicago—April 22, 2013—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) and the City of Chicago celebrate William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday with a proclamation from Mayor Emanuel declaring April 23 Talk Like Shakespeare Day and the plans for the expanded Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program to tour The Comedy of Errors this summer, FREE FOR ALL, to neighborhood parks across Chicago, July 26–August 25, 2013.

Mayor Emanuel’s proclamation of Talk Like Shakespeare Day is an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to celebrate Shakespeare’s 449th birthday by bringing the spoken words of Shakespeare into their daily lives. Shakespeare penned 154 sonnets, 38 plays and over 1,700 words and countless phrases we use today in the English language. Chicago Shakespeare originated the holiday in 2009 and it became an immediate world-wide sensation, garnering extensive national and international attention and more than one million hits to TalkLikeShakespeare.org.

Building on the success of last summer’s inaugural Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, CST actors will perform a 75-minute production of The Comedy of Errors, the Bard’s popular play about mistaken identities, directed and adapted by David H. Bell. A specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold, and a company of professional actors will share the delight of Shakespeare, FREE FOR ALL, with families in parks across the City. A complete tour schedule will be announced at a later date.

“Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings Shakespeare to life at Chicago’s Navy Pier, in our neighborhoods and in our schools," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The return of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program will make Chicago’s neighborhood parks come alive with the thrill and magic of live theater. This is a fitting way to honor Shakespeare, and I thank Chicago Shakespeare Theater.”

The expanded citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company. Additional support for the program is provided by production sponsor for The Comedy of Errors BMO Harris Bank and the Chicago Shakespeare Trust, as well as Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to support the Chicago Park District’s programs and provide family activities throughout the city’s parks.

“The arts are essential to building strong communities,” said Lianne Stein, Vice President for Global Corporate Citizenship at Boeing. “This initiative brings innovative arts programming to Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods and supports local artists and arts organizations.”

Touring to neighborhoods across the City, the free performances of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors will contribute to the activation of parks this summer with programming that attracts families, breaking down barriers to arts participation and encouraging young family members to participate in Chicago’s Summer of Learning program. The initiative represents an innovative public-private coordination to infuse learning into summer programs that young people across the city can attend when school is out of session. Summer programs throughout the Chicago Park District are participating—including Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, which will offer young audience members an opportunity to learn about the art of storytelling in the context of a professional theatrical production. After seeing the play, students will be prompted to reflect on their experience and respond to their favorite elements of the production through take-home questions printed in the program. Completion of the activities will earn each young person a “Bard Badge.” 

“Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks furthers the Summer of Learning initiative as it will expose youth in our parks to one of the world’s greatest writers,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “The program also reinforces our commitment to working with our partners to provide citywide cultural programming in our community parks.”

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines said, “I think Shakespeare would consider this a perfect birthday present: an affirmation of the continuing popularity of his work with everyone talking like Shakespeare and an expanded tour of The Comedy of Errors throughout a great American city that did not even exist in his lifetime! We thank Mayor Emanuel for his support of the arts throughout our City and we are absolutely thrilled to be touring one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays that I know will tickle audiences of all ages and motivate students to earn a ‘Bard Badge.’”

For more information on Talk Like Shakespeare Day, including Mayor Emanuel’s Proclamation, visit TalkLikeShakespeare.org. To view a video from last year’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks . For more information about Chicago’s Summer of Learning and earning badges, please visit www.chicagosummeroflearning.org.

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