My first Shakespeare in the Park experience came when I was still in grade school. (either grade school or middle school) An adult friend of ours from church would take a couple of us to Samuell Grand Park each year to see the Junior play they were putting on. Plays like “Hamlet”, “As You Like It”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or “The Taming of the Shrew” resonate in my mind from those summers as a child. (I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what a couple of them were about then but it was still fun to go and get out of the house and do something different.) We’d pack up some snacks, cold drinks, picnic blankets or mats and of course the OFF! Candle and spray to ward off bugs.
More than a decade has passed and Shakespeare in the Park is still going strong. But they have extended their performances to the Addison Circle area now as well. I may be a little bit older but Shakespeare Festival of Dallas can cater to people of all ages really, especially if you’re seeing it outdoors. From October 5th to October 9th and October 12th through 16th Shakespeare in the Park will be at Addison Circle Park. “Hamlet” will be the featured play this year.The only difference between Shakespeare Dallas in 2011 and Shakespeare Dallas of the late 90s early 2000’s is now one has to pay $10 for admission. Back in the days we were just encouraged to give donations, but everything was free. (By the way, you can donate to Shakespeare Dallas by clicking here) With it being such a major and recurring production that has so much involved throughout the year, I’m sure costs add it up and finances are required to keep such a successful program running. Click here for Tickets & Group reservations!
A little history for ya: Robert “Bob” Glenn started The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas in 1971 as a FREE summer Shakespeare Festival when inspired by the nature of the New York Shakespeare Festival. This company serves as North Texas’ only producer of an education program that focuses on teaching Shakespeare. By 2005 they branded the organization “Shakespeare Dallas” in order to illustrate the new direction that the company was taking on of “year-round, affordable and accessible programming”. Shakespeare in the Park has three programs it uses to carry out its mission: Shakespeare In the Park outdoor productions, Shakespeare on the Go! Education programs for Grades 3 -12 and Shakespeare Unplugged programs for young adults ages 18 and over. The core of their programs, which began in ’71, started with a one-man version of Hamlet, and over the years this summer tradition evolved. After growing in popularity the company decided to add a second production in its third year and you can imagine how things went from there. If you’ve got a passion for the arts or Shakespeare you can even volunteer, intern or possibly work with Shakespeare Dallas! Check out their website for more info.
The first few years of my Shakespeare Dallas experiences were kind of HOT. The plays always took place during the summer or at least some point of the year when it was warm, even though the plays were scheduled in the evening and ran after sunset. (Thank God) It’s a relief to know that now you can go when Texas temp’s are just right – October. Addison Circle’s trees help with the shade and cool breeze that will blow throughout the stage area.
How fitting that 30 years later Shakespeare Festival of Dallas puts on Hamlet performances in 2011 the same way they started out, only with more than one man. It’s probably not a coincidence. My childhood years may be long gone but now Shakespeare might just provide an affordable date night idea in one of my favorite hang-out spots in North Texas. Pack up the coolers, bug spray and picnic mats (wine & cheese if you must) and take your honey or the kids out for an evening of Shakespeare. Even if the play runs a tad bit long (luckily it’s in a park too), your kids won’t forget their time spent with Shakespeare. I know I didn’t.
Addison Circle Park
4970 Addison Circle Dr
Addison, TX 75001
Groups, Special Guests, Advance Tickets Holders
General Admission Tickets on Sale at the Park