For the past 13 years, Independent Shakespeare Co. has brought free Shakespeare to L.A. audiences. This summer, they’re back in Griffith Park with two of Shakespeare’s most popular works: Richard III, directed by Melissa Chalsma, and The Tempest, directed by Matthew Earnest.
Managing Director David Melville says, “This is our most ambitious summer: Not only are we bringing both Richard III and The Tempest to Griffith Park for the first time, but both productions feature live music played by the company members themselves, extraordinary design, and one of the strongest casts we’ve assembled, featuring many ISC favorites as well as new faces.”
“We’re also extremely excited to welcome internationally recognized director Matthew Earnest (Co-Founder of The Lunar Stratagem, Associate Artist at Germany’s English Theater Berlin, Founding Artistic Director of deep ellum ensemble, former assistant director to Adrian Hall), as director of The Tempest. It’s the first time his work has been seen in Los Angeles, and we’re thrilled to bring his unique sensibility to our wonderful Griffith Park audience.”
Adds Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma, “It’s exciting to see how our productions resonate across the generations. One picture of the modern world is that everyone is always connected to their phones and devices, but what’s heartening to us is the fact that thousands of people, young people in particular, seek out the experience of watching a play in the park. Digital platforms may bring them together, but it’s for a live, human experience that can’t be replaced with digital media. They give us their attention from the beginning of the play to the end, then want to come back and tell their friends about it. We’ve always been about populist entertainment and we hold it as a core principle that Shakespeare intended his plays for the masses, not just an intellectual elite or any particular age group or demographic. Because our festival is inclusive, Shakespeare in the park is becoming an iconic Los Angeles summer event, like going to the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Hollywood Bowl.”
As in the past, the festival will also feature a variety of opening acts, a Salon Series, and art & education workshops for everyone to enjoy. Players in the Park/ Teatristas en el parque are an interactive, energetic way for families to learn about the evening’s performance and to become more engaged in the overall live theater experience. On one special evening, Self Help Graphics will bring their Barrio Mobile Art Unit for an art-making workshop experience.
The Salon Series pre-performance discussions are led by experts in their field. Guests this year include Steven Leigh Morris, Executive Director of the LA Stage Alliance; John Frank, Senior Librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library, and Ranger Mendibles, Park Ranger with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
Pre-show performances by ISC’s Festival Arts Partners will feature Invertigo Dance Theatre, La Victoria and The Silver Lake Chorus. Specific dates for performances, education workshops and special events can be found at iscla.org.
June 25 –July 24, 2016
July 30 –September 4, 2016
Independent Shakespeare Co.
Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Old Zoo, Griffith Park (near 4730 Crystal Spring Dr.)
Performance schedule: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun at 7pm
More info: www.iscla.org or call 818-710-6306
You can also contribute to the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival at isc2016.causevox.com.