AUSTIN — Many Chicago residents will not have to leave their neighborhood this summer to take in some professional theater.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater will be performing "Twelfth Night" 25 times at 19 different parks throughout the city this summer, the theater and the city announced this week. Shows will begin July 14 and run through Aug. 14, according to the city.
Performances of Shakespeare plays have taken place in neighborhood parks for four years already, but this year's run will tie in with the city's Shakespeare 400 festival in honor of the British playwright's 400th birthday.
And unlike many of the Shakespeare 400 events, the parks productions are free and open to the public, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at an event announcing the program in Austin Tuesday.
"You know that chair you use for dibs?" Emanuel said. "That's all you need for entry to a parks event."
The performances are part of the Chicago Park District's "night out in the parks" program, now in its fourth year. Along with plays, the Parks District is hosting a number of movie nights in neighborhood parks.
Neighborhood parks will host other free events this summer, including musical performances celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Great Migration that led many southern African-Americans to Chicago and other northern cities.
The programming is meant to bring cultural events to the neighborhood level, as well as serve as a way for the community to take back its parks land from gangbangers, Emanuel and city officials said.
"The ripple effect of this program has activated arts and culture in communities across the city," Park District Supt. Mike Kelly said. "We will continue to bring world-class performances to new audiences, not only in the summer but throughout the year."
Here is a list of where performances of "Twelfth Night" will be held this summer:
• 6:30 p.m. July 14-15 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
• 4 p.m. July 17 at Steel Workers Park, 87th Street at Lake Michigan
• 6:30 p.m. July 19-20 at Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St.
• 6:30 p.m. July 21 at Tuley Park, 501 E. 90th Place:
• 6:30 p.m. July 22-23 at Loyola Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.
• 3 p.m. July 24 at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Ave.
• 3 p.m. July 27 at Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.
• 6:30 p.m. July 28 at Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.
• 6:30 p.m. July 29 at Washington Park, 5531 S. Russell Drive.
• 6:30 p.m. July 30 and 4 p.m. July 31 at Frank J. Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 3 at Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 4 at Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 5 at Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton St.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 6 and 4 p.m. Aug. 7 at Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 9 at Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave.:
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 10 at Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 11-12 at Humboldt Park, 1301 N. Sacramento Ave.
• 6:30 p.m Aug. 13 at Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.
• 4 p.m. Aug. 14 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
The performances at Welles Park, Loyola Park, Washington Park, Humboldt Park and Ping Tom Memorial Park will include sign language interpretations. Ping Tom Park will also host the only "audio described" performance, according to the Parks District.
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