Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where to See Outdoor Shakespeare in Connecticut

Outdoor Shakespeare is nothing new: in fact the very first performances of the Bard's work were held at the plein-air Globe Theatre on the banks of London's River Thames. But outdoor performances of Shakespeare as an annual summertime ritual is a more recent phenomenon whose 'Big Bang' moment was in 1954 when New York's famed Public Theater started staging free performances of Shakespeare in Central Park every summer.

Where are the best places to see outdoor Shakespeare in Connecticut? If you're looking for a scenic location, you won't want to miss the Flock Theatre Company's performances beside the lily pond in the glorious Connecticut College Arboretum. If you're looking for top-notch acting and production values, you can't beat the Elm Shakespeare Company, which performs towards the end of summer in New Haven's Edgerton Park and on the Guilford Green. And if you want something memorable -- and maybe a little goofy -- be sure to head to Bridgeport for Connecticut Free Shakespeare's "Shakespeare in the Zoo," in which peacocks roaming the grounds of the Beardsley Zoo have been known to make cameos by wandering onstage during this company's playful and music-filled productions.

Here is a list of options for outdoor Shakespeare in Connecticut. If you go, remember to bring a comfy folding chair and bug spray. Although the performances may be free to attend, they are not free to produce, and donations are always appreciated.

Elm Shakespeare Company -- New Haven and Guilford --

Connecticut Free Shakespeare -- Bridgeport --

Flock Theatre -- New London -

Capital Classics Theatre Company - Saint Joseph College, Hartford -

Shakespeare on the Sound - Norwalk -

ARTFARM "Shakespeare in the Grove" - Middletown -