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Chicago Shakespeare Theater
on Navy Pier
800 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces schedule and partners for


Free pop-up performances in neighborhood parks explore the theme of heroism in Shakespeare’s plays, July 25–⁠August 5, 2023

Featuring arts partners from Austin, Chinatown, Englewood, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, Little Village, & West Pullman: Beverly Arts Center, Jose “iasEL” Gonzalez, Noelle Klyce, Emma Lyons, Move Me Soul, Daryl Satcher, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, Alexis Willis & Yin He Dance

Chicago—June 16, 2023Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins with arts partners in Austin, Chinatown, Englewood, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, Little Village, and West Pullman to present this summer’s FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, now in its twelfth year. Exploring how we can all be heroes in our everyday lives—for ourselves, our families, and our communities—this fun-for-all-ages musical revue, entitled The Hero Within, weaves together popular music and multidisciplinary performances with scenes, characters, and speeches from Shakespeare’s plays. Directed and choreographed by Tor Campbell, pop-up performances will take place in Chicago Park District parks in each of the six partner communities, July 25–August 5, 2023.

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. Arts partners include Beverly Arts Center, Jose “iasEL” Gonzalez, Noelle Klyce, Emma Lyons, Move Me Soul, Daryl Satcher, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural CenterAlexis Willis, and Yin He Dance. Joining Campbell on the creative team are associate director Jasmine B. Gunter, music director Robert Reddrick, choreography consultant Diana Muhammad, scenic designer Hannah Clark, costume designer Ben Kress, sound designer Willow James, and DJ Nathan LaBranche.

This summer’s creative collaboration will culminate in free performances at parks across the city:

  • Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. – Polk Bros Park (600 E. Grand Ave.) on Navy Pier
  • Wednesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. – Polk Bros Park (600 E. Grand Ave.) on Navy Pier
  • Thursday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. – Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.) in Little Village
  • Friday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. – Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.) in Austin
  • Saturday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. – Blackhawk Park (2318 N. Lavergne Ave.) in Hermosa & Belmont Cragin Audio-⁠described performance
  • Thursday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. – West Pullman Park (401 W. 123rd St.) in West Pullman
  • Friday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. – Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.) in Englewood
  • Saturday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. – Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.) in Chinatown American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance

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

The Theater has long fostered creative community engagement on its stages and across the city through multiple programs now collectively described as Chicago Shakespeare CoLab. These ongoing initiatives include three pillars of engagement: cornerstone program Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks; co-created workshops and events with arts partners and community-based organizations; and opportunities for partner arts organizations to share Chicago Shakespeare’s stages. The program offers professional development and employment opportunities and fosters year-long engagements with neighborhood-based arts organizations to jointly offer advocacy initiatives, workshops, classes, and community-building events.

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 alongside more than 600 civic, cultural, and corporate partners and thousands of artists. The reimagining of this annual summer tradition expands the program’s social impact by centering the process on equitable and inclusive collaboration.

Meet this summer’s featured arts partners:

  • The Beverly Arts Center joins us as a first-time Shakespeare in the Parks partner this year. Located on Chicago’s South Side, the Beverly Arts Center is a multifaceted organization building community through diverse, quality arts programming, education, and entertainment for all ages and levels.
  • Jose “iasEL” Gonzalez is an actor, poet, and storyteller based on the West Side. He is the host and producer of La Sala: Cuentos from the Latino Living Room, a storytelling series that features comedy, spoken word, and music, and host of Legal Aliens, a podcast about living in America from a Latino perspective. iasEL performed in last summer’s ShakesFest and was a featured partner in Chicago Shakespeare’s virtual TO BE in 2023.
  • Noelle Klyce is a multi-hyphenate artist born and raised on the South Side. She is a frequent Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks collaborator and appeared in TO BE 2022. She has performed locally at City Lit Theatre, MPAACT, and Oak Park Festival Theatre. She owns the crochet line Hook Me Up, Design Co., focusing on personalization through yarn work.
  • Collaborating on the production design is visual artist Emma Lyons, a member of the Fulton Street Collective—a community incubator and a home base for artists in West Town. Lyons is passionate about theater, and with a team of fellow Fulton Street artists, led the set design efforts for Shakespeare in the Parks’ Dream in 2021 and created a digital art piece for last year’s ShakesFest.
  • Austin-based modern dance ensemble Move Me Soul fuses technique, performance, and character development—empowering artists to “move” their limits on and off stage. Through programs including a teen ensemble, professional dance troupe and its “Commundance” community engagement initiative, the company works primarily in modern dance styles to explore the Black experience on the West Side. Move Me Soul performed in last summer’s ShakesFest.
  • Daryl Satcher is joining us as a first-time Parks partner this year, but it’s not his first time working with Chicago Shakespeare—he was a member of the ensemble in the Theater’s 2001 production of King Lear. Satcher is on the Faculty of Columbia College Chicago and is the founder and CEO of A Leading Man Productions, offering wellness retreats, workshops and more.
  • The longest-standing Latino cultural center in Chicago, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center is based in Hermosa and has been committed to preserving and promoting Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Latino cultural traditions for more than 50 years. A frequent Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks collaborator, the center offers multi-disciplinary programs that highlight the presence of African cultures in Puerto Rico and Latin America through dance, music, theater, and visual arts.
  • Alexis Willis is a multihyphenate visual and performance artist who studied Theatre at Columbia College Chicago. A frequent Shakespeare in the Parks collaborator, Willis is in residence with PullmanArts, an organization that builds upon the historic beauty and skilled craftsmanship that have bolstered the greater Pullman area’s reputation as a historic and contemporary arts hub.
  • Rooted in Chicago’s Chinese American community and the historic Chinatown neighborhood, returning Parks partner Yin He Dance bridges east and west, past and present via repertory works passed down by master teachers as well as new creations, especially those by members of the Chinese diaspora. The company aims to build new avenues of cultural dialogue and share the joy of dance with all communities.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is made possible by a civic, cultural, and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Park District, and Lead Community Sponsor BMO.

“BMO is proud to support Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks for what is sure to be another transformative summer of intentional collaboration and authentic engagement across our city,” said Ray Whitacre, Co-Head, U.S. Commercial Bank, BMO, and member of Chicago Shakespeare’s Board of Directors. “This program has long been a model of connectivity, continually evolving to meet the needs of Chicago’s vibrant artistic community.”

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is the foundational program of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks (NOITP) event series. Since its inception in 2013, NOITP has provided thousands of hours of safe, diverse, and unique arts programming for artists and audiences in Chicago Park District parks citywide. With support from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the program produces free cultural events across disciplines in all 77 community areas of Chicago.

“We are so thankful for our continued partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As part of the Night Out in the Parks programming, this theater group enlivens city parks and communities citywide through their thoughtfully curated performances,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “Performances like these ensure that every Chicagoan has the opportunity to experience robust cultural events and celebrate local artists in their neighborhood parks.”

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 twenty 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 eighteen. 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.


Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Night Out in the Parks program presents cultural events year-round in neighborhood parks throughout the city. The Chicago Park District in partnership with 100 local artists and organizations, present engaging events and performances that enhance quality of life across Chicago and amplify the artistic and cultural vibrancy in every neighborhood. Through multiple disciplines, which include theater, music, movies, dance, site-specific work, nature programs, and community festivals, the series aims to support Chicago-based artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement, and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans. For more information, please visit

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