Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival 2016
Begins Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26
Then plays Wednesday - Sunday until July 24
Performances at 7:00 pm
By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Independent Shakespeare Co. based on the work of Colley Cibber
FREE (donations gratefully accepted)
Shakespeare’s indelible anti-hero, Richard III, is the King you love to hate (even his mother rues the day he was born.) His path to power is strewn with lies, manipulation, improbable seductions, and murder. This electrified re-telling is equal parts political satire and a chilling look at what happens when a charismatic and corrupt leader sets his sights on the highest seat of government. Join us in Griffith Park and get swept away by the lush costumes, live music, and Richard's mesmerizing charm.
Begins Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31
Then plays Wednesday - Sunday until September 4
Performances at 7:00 pm
By William Shakespeare
FREE (donations gratefully accepted)
In Shakespeare's final play, magic, first love and the forces of revenge intersect on a mysterious island. Prospero has spent 12 years in exile watching his growing daughter, Miranda, all the while plotting to punish his duplicitous brother with the sorcery he has been practicing. But when the opportunity presents itself, he learns that magic doesn't make the man, the world is stranger than it appears and that perhaps the past is only history.
Our performance site is at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park.
Ample free parking is available. Look for the hot pink signs directing you to the parking lots near the Merry-Go-Round. Parking lot 2 is the closest to the performance site, but do be prepared for a bit of a walk up a hill.
Downloadable parking map is here.
Please note: as with anywhere in the city, don't park against curbs painted red and look out for "no parking" signs! Griffith Park has fire lanes and they are serious about enforcing them!
Plan your evening
- We welcome children at our performances! But please be advised, these are not Shakespeare performances edited or changed for children. Shakespeare wrote about the human experience, and his plays include examples of sexuality and violence, and deal with adult themes. Email us and we'll be happy to answer any specific questions you may have about particular performances. And please, keep your children with you at all times.
- There is an uphill walk from the parking areas to our performance site. If you have mobility challenges, please call us at 818-710-6306 to make arrangements.
- Don't forget your picnic! (Note: alcohol is prohibited in Los Angeles City parks.)
- Dress in layers as it gets chilly in the evening.
- We have a concessions tent with hot and cold beverages, sweets treats from The Village Bakery & Café (a local Atwater Village small business), kettle corn, light snacks and Habey’s Shakes (“The Bard of Shortbread” cookies baked in NYC especially for Independent Shakespeare Co.) Cash and credit cards accepted.
- We encourage your consideration of those around you! Low seat beach chairs (legs lower than 3") are welcome behind our chair line. The lower area closest to the stage is reserved for those with picnic blankets.
- As a courtesy to those around you, we ask you to leave your four legged friends at home.
- You may find that bug spray and sunscreen are also helpful to bring with you.
- For disabled access, please call us at 818-710-6306 for information and to make arrangements.
Thank You Seats
Make a donation of $150 and as a thank you, you will receive up to 4 reserved seats at one performance of your choice!* You can roll up at 6:55pm and know that your seats are waiting for you! Email Sarah to make your donation and to choose your date!
*Seating is limited, let us know your preferred date as soon as you can!
Special events throughout the summer. All are FREE!
Players in the Park/Teatristas en el parque Family Workshops
Begins promptly at 5pm!
Workshops before Richard III:
Saturday, July 9 & Sunday, July 17
Workshops before The Tempest:
Sunday, August 7 & Saturday, August 27
These interactive workshops are high energy and introduce participants to the plays & characters. You'll also meet some of the actors and take a backstage tour.
Reservations recommended. If you have questions or would prefer to make a reservation by phone, please call us at (818) 710-6306.
Pre-show performances by our Festival Arts Partners
Invertigo Dance Theatre
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, July 8 - 10
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, July 15 - 17
Invertigo Dance Theatre produces engaging dance pieces of virtuosic movement delivered with signature and stunning athletic physicality. The company forges a new relationship between audience and performer and its storytelling incorporates elements of theatre, spoken dialogue and live music. Invertigo was founded in 2007 by Artistic Director Laura Karlin and has quickly become a cornerstone of the Los Angeles dance scene. Invertigo is a Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) grant recipient and has performed in such venues as the Ford Theatres, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Alex Theatre, LACMA, Broad Stage and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Its Dancing Through Parkinson's program offers weekly dance classes to people living with Parkinson's disease was recently featured on NPR. Its Invert/ED education program empowers young people through the creative process. Invertigo performs its critically-acclaimed full-evening work After It Happened at the Ford Theatres on Friday, September 30.
Saturday, August 13 at 6:30 pm
While holding a strong foundation in Mexican folk music, La Victoria resonates a sound that reflects their city of Los Angeles. Vaneza Calderón (guitarrón), Mary Alfaro (guitar), and Rosalie Rodriguez (violin) combine their passion for mariachi music, diverse Latin-American genres and other sounds to produce a repertoire that has the ability to unite generations through music. In addition to their weekly residency at Las Perlas in downtown L.A., these musicians perform throughout the country and are involved in studio recordings, theater, musical instrument string production, and museum work.
The Silver Lake Chorus
Sunday, August 21 at 6:30 pm
The Silver Lake Chorus performs choral arrangements of indie music and exudes both the edgy, independent spirit of Silver Lake and the heart of community choral singing. TSLC’s debut album, produced by Aussie crooner Ben Lee, features rare and new tracks written exclusively for the chorus by amazing indie artists like Sia, Aimee Mann, The Bird and the Bee, Tegan and Sara, Ben Lee, The New Pornographers, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), John Roderick (The Long Winters), The Flaming Lips, and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). TSLC regularly performs live in and around Los Angeles and can also be heard singing the theme song for the SNL feature film MACGRUBER as well as backup vocals on Andy Samberg and Akon’s single, “I Just Had Sex.”
Salon Series: discussions at the intersection of Shakespeare and contemporary Los Angeles
All Salons are at 6:00 pm, ask at the check-in desk where to meet in the performance area.
Wednesday, July 20 before Richard III
Ranger Mendibles, Park Ranger
City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
"History, plants, animals, and good stewardship of the Old Zoo"
Learn the fascinating history of Griffith Park and the Old Zoo Picnic Area. He will also be talking about the diversity of the plant and animal life in the 4,300 acre urbanized wilderness known as the southern most tip of the Santa Monica Mountains. Additionally, he will be discussing how we can be good stewards, to preserve the land for the future generations.
Saturday, July 23 before Richard III
Melissa Chalsma, director of Richard III and Artistic Director of Independent Shakespeare Co.
Arts in L.A. praised director Melissa Chalsma's production and her dramaturgical skill, saying she "has integrated portions of a little-known version of this tale dating back to 1699 and attributed to a colorful actor-manager-playwright named Colley Cibber, later the poet laureate of England. The result is an outstandingly viewer-friendly production that had audience members of all ages gasping viscerally at the conscienceless actions of the last Plantagenet to wear the crown." Join us for this opportunity to learn about her inspired choices that make Richard III such an outstanding production.
Sunday, July 31 before The Tempest
Matthew Earnest, Director, The Tempest
Matthew began his career under Richard Hamburger at Dallas Theater Center. Relocating to New York City, he spent a season as assistant director to Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines, and a Drama League fellowship he served as assistant director to Adrian Hall, a position he would hold for many years while simultaneously creating his own work. Matthew’s many productions of classic dramas, new plays, operas, and his own original works have been presented across the U.S, Europe and in Africa. As Founding Artistic Director of the New York-based deep ellum ensemble, Matthew created works that garnered international acclaim from 1995 until the company disbanded in 2007. Today he works independently at theaters around the U.S and is an associate artist at Germany’s English Theater Berlin and at the University of Delawardes REP with Nicole Perrone. Matthew co-founded The Lunar Strategem in 2011, a touring ensemble based in Huntington, West Virginia.
Sunday, August 21 before The Tempest
John Frank, Senior Librarian
Los Angeles Public Library
"The Tempest by The Book"
Shakespeare’s final play is rife with book imagery from Prospero’s library to Stephano’s profane offer of a drink to Caliban. What were books in Shakespeare’s time? Who made them? Who owned them? Who read them? And how did Shakespeare’s plays make it into print?
John Frank is the Senior Librarian at the Will and Ariel Durant Branch Library. He received a Bachelors in Theatre Arts at the University of Michigan and continued his training at the Circle In The Square in New York. His comedy has been performed by Joan Rivers, Willie Tyler and Lester, and Will Shriner. His play “Q-Boy Versus The Board of Education” was an O’Neill semi-finalist. He is currently completing an English Literature degree at Morehead State University. His area of concentration is Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre.
Friday, September 2 before The Tempest
Steven Leigh Morris
Executive Director, LA Stage Alliance
"The Quality of Mercy"
Among the most striking scenes in "The Tempest" comes when Prospero forgives his detractors, and yields up his own magical power in doing so. In the 21st century, as social media feeds us a stream of information we "like" (and excludes the rest), we -- like the characters in so many of the Bard's plays -- have drifted ever further into polarized encampments, unforgiving of the "other." This discussion focuses on the "quality of mercy" -- in Shakespeare, and related literature -- how the very cadence of the lines changes when characters forgive, and how this pertains to our culture and society.
Steven Leigh Morris is a playwright and journalist, and the founding editor of the community-funded digital arts venture Stage Raw. He chaired the Jury for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012, and served on that Jury in 2011. He received the Critic of the Year prize for his print reviews by the National Entertainment Journalism Awards in 2011, for his writings at L.A. Weekly. His theater features have also been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine, Back Stage, World’s Fair Magazine in San Francisco, and DRAMA Magazine in London. His play Beachwood Drive was produced in Los Angeles and off-Broadway, and is published by Samuel French, Inc. and in Smith & Kraus’ anthology of Best New American Plays. Morris’ first novel Fowl Play (combining his dual passions for theater and barnyard poultry) is scheduled to be published in Spring, 2016 by Padaro Press (Los Angeles) and Open Road Media (New York).
The Barrio Mobile Art Unit from Self Help Graphics & Art
Saturday, August 13 at 4pm
Create your own Shakespeare-inspired print with Self Help Graphics’ Barrio Mobile Art Studio. Come early to stencil and screen print your own design before the performance. Suitable for all ages.
Self Help Graphics & Art is the leading non-profit visual arts center serving the predominantly Latino community of Los Angeles. Self Help Graphics’ mission is to drive the creation of new work by Chicano and Latino artists through fine art printmaking and multiple visual art forms.