Chicago Shakespeare’s Unveils a Partial Season Which Includes Performances in New Yard Theater

Chicago Shakespeare’s Unveils a Partial Season Which Includes Performances in New Yard Theater

Pictured: Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced nine productions for the 2017/18 season which includes the introduction of CST’s new and innovative third performance venue, The Yard. Additional productions are to be announced this summer.

The season opens with Artistic Director Barbara Gaines re-examing Shakespeare’s notorious “battle of the sexes” in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW in the Courtyard Theater (September 16–November 12, 2017). Featuring an all-female company, Gaines partners with playwright Ron West (CST’s The Comedy of Errors, 2008) to frame Shakespeare’s story as a performance by a group of Suffragettes in 1919—on the eve of the passing of the 19th Amendment.

In The Yard is James Thierrée’s THE TOAD KNEW (September 19–23, 2017) presented by his La Compagnie du Hanneton from France as part of CST’s World’s Stage series. Blending together the artistry of dancers, contortionists, and high-wire artists with Thierrée’s extraordinary physical prowess, THE TOAD KNEW marks Thierrée’s returns to CST after his FAREWELL UMBRELLA (2007) and BRIGHT ABYSS (2005).

The season continues with Chicago Shakespeare partnering with the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) in its inaugural International Latino Theater Festival (Fall 2017) with a Latin American production as part of the World’s Stage series to be announced.

A theatrical revolution comes to the stage in RED VELVET  (December 1, 2017–January 21, 2018; Courtyard Theater), directed Gary Griffin. The award-winning play by Lolita Chakrabarti chronicles the seldom-told, true story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who challenged convention by taking the London stage as the first black Othello in 1833—sending shockwaves through the city at a time when anti-abolition protesters rioted in the streets.

In 2018, the abridged Short Shakespeare! A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (January 24–March 10, 2018; The Yard) introduces Shakespeare’s mystical comedy to family and student audiences in a new production.

Two resolute rulers—Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots—face off in a struggle for the faith of the nation in Schiller’s MARY STUART (February 21–April 15, 2018; Courtyard Theater), with an adaptation by Peter Oswald and directed by former Artistic Director of The Actors Company Theater Jenn Thompson.

Director and playwright Aaron Posner and Teller (of famous duo Penn & Teller) join forces with a new production of MACBETH (April 25–June 24, 2018; The Yard), returning after their Jeff Award-winning production of THE TEMPEST at Chicago Shakespeare in 2015. This supernatural thriller dives into the psyches of the power-hungry Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with astounding magic to immerse audiences in the storytelling.

Featured as part of Chicago Shakespeare’s World’s Stage series is Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT (May 23–June 3, 2018; Courtyard Theater), presented by Ireland’s Druid Theatre and staged by Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes. The production marks the company’s third return to Chicago Shakespeare following THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMANN (2011) and THE WALWORTH FARCE (2009).

Touring to neighborhood parks across the City in Summer 2017 Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET (July–August 2017; neighborhood parks across Chicago), will play free performances in a gripping 75-minute production, adapted and directed by Marti Lyons.

The nine productions listed join the previously announced summer family musical, MADAGASCAR – A Musical Adventure (July 13–August 27, 2017; Courtyard Theater). Based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture, this wild new musical is directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery.

“On the heels of the Theater’s 30th Anniversary and the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival, we have curated a season that reflects upon historic moments with radically fresh eyes—and at the same time blazes a trail forward by reimagining Shakespeare’s plays for today’s audiences,” says Gaines. “These works give voice to our collective soul, and serve to unite us in a time when the world feels more divided than ever.”

“We are thrilled to introduce audiences this season to The Yard—a forward-thinking venue that is one-of-a-kind in terms of its flexibility and artistic vision,” comments Executive Director Criss Henderson. “In concert with our existing spaces in the Courtyard Theater and Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard allows us to best serve our artists and audiences with a dynamic range of spaces that will be responsive to theater-makers for generations to come.”

For information on Chicago Shakespeare Theater visit

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2017/18 Season (from the press release):

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure
in CST’s Courtyard Theater
July 13–August 27, 2017
based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture
book by Kevin Del Aguila | original music and lyrics by George Noriega & Joel Someillan
directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
Romeo and Juliet
in neighborhood parks across Chicago
July–August, 2017
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Marti Lyons

The Taming of the Shrew
in CST’s Courtyard Theater
September 16–November 12, 2017
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Barbara Gaines
additional dialogue by Ron West

from FRANCE | La Compagnie du Hanneton
The Toad Knew
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
September 19–23, 2017
by James Thierrée

International Latino Theater Festival
Title to be announced
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Fall 2017

Red Velvet
in CST’s Courtyard Theater
December 1, 2017–January 21, 2018
by Lolita Chakrabarti
directed by Gary Griffin

Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
January 24–March 10, 2018
by William Shakespeare

Schiller’s Mary Stuart
in CST’s Courtyard Theater
February 21–April 15, 2018
in a new version by Peter Oswald
directed by Jenn Thompson

in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
April 25–June 24, 2018
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller

from IRELAND | Druid Theatre
Waiting for Godot
in CST’s Courtyard Theater
May 23–June 3, 2018
by Samuel Beckett
directed by Garry Hynes

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