Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks
Celebrating its 17th season in 2021, Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks' brings accessible, high-quality, free Shakespeare to fans of all ages and encourages the enjoyment and preservation of our natural public places and parks through live performances in Pittsburgh parks.
PSIP has performed outdoors since 2005. Each autumn, the company presents one play during four weekend afternoons. In 2021, several evening events will be added to the schedule. Admission is free, with donations encouraged. Audience members are invited to bring chairs, blankets, picnics, and anything permitted in Pittsburgh city parks. The performances often include an additional pre-show performance and the plays run for about 1.5 hours with no intermission.
History: Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks was started in 2005 by Artistic Director Jennifer Tober, a Pittsburgh actress/director who has appeared in The Queens, Macbeth 3, Salome, The Red Shoes, and directed several shows for PSIP. In 2005 Tober was so inspired by the natural amphitheater at the bottom of the sledding hill in Frick Park in Squirrel Hill that she started the company with As You Like It in November 2005. The company grew and gained popularity quickly, and has offered FREE theater in parks including Frick, Highland, Arsenal, Schenley, West Park, and other outdoor settings.
Collaborations with leading cultural and education entities have included University of Pittsburgh Honors College, presenting a performance of our The Comedy of Errors at Pymatuning State Park in 2016. We also inaugurated an ongoing collaboration with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, providing 2 private student matinees of The Comedy of Errors for a total of 5 public schools and 1 homeschooling group, as well as performing selected scenes as part of The Trust’s Gallery Crawl event. The Trust invited PSIP to develop and perform an original compilation, Supernatural Shakespeare, for student and Gallery Crawl audiences in 2017.
Pivoting to respond to the restrictions of Covid, PSIP's first digital play CYMBELINE was presented over four weekends in September 2020, continuing PSIP's tradition of innovative productions. The company's first winter production, LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, live streamed, Feb. 11-15, 2021. Shakesprov!--a new online digital and interactive show debuted in March and returned on June 24.
In 2021, PSIP will give its first events in North Park and Schenley Plaza in Oakland.
"In the city parks, we use only the park as our set, and we tell the story in a very physical way that makes the story immediately clear to the audience. Our emphasis is on the words, and on the unique collaborative relationship among the actors, the language, and the audience," says Tober.