Shakespeare Shakepeare in the Park Award Winning Performances of Shakespear

If William Shakespeare happened by the stage in Buffalo, New York’s Delaware Park, his reaction might best be summed up in a single sentence, This is very midsummer madness, a line he coined in his play Twelfth Night.

Every summer since 1976, a troupe of dedicated actors bring Shakespeare’s colorful characters to life six nights a week from mid-June through mid-August at the hilltop stage in Delaware Park. Performances are held nightly, weather permitting from Tuesday through Sunday. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., but to get a good seat, come at least half an hour before the curtain goes up. Best of all, the performances are free to the public.

Because of the popularity of the productions, the hilltop where the stage stands has earned the nickname Shakespeare Hill. The acting troupe is a non-profit organization which relies on individual donations, memberships and corporate sponsors to pay for its productions.

The 2009 summer season marks the 34th anniversary of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. It is the second most successful Shakespeare in the Park program, based on attendance in the United States. During a single season, about 50,000 people watch the performances. Buffalo’s successful Shakespeare in the Park productions are second only to New York City’s Shakespeare in the park.

Besides nightly performances, the acting troupe also sponsors workshops for area high school students. The program gives teens a chance to work one-on-one with professional actors to learn stage techniques, pointers on voice projection as well as period dance. Along with acting tips, students also learn about the technical aspects to keep a stage production running smoothly.

Shakespearience workshops are pricey at $350 per student, but scholarships are available for the five week course. Call (716) 856-4533 for more information on the organization’s educational component.

Shakespeare in the Park could not have picked a more historic site for their productions. Delaware Park is one of three Buffalo parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, whom many consider the father of landscape architecture and one of the country’s foremost park builders.

Delaware Park has 350 acres within its borders. It is the largest city park in Buffalo and the centerpiece of the city’s park system. Olmstead designed Delaware Park in 1871. It is the epicenter of many of Buffalo’s activities, no matter what time of year it is. During the summer, it is the picnic destination of many families as they stake out a location to watch the latest Shakespearean production on the Tudor-styled stage behind the rose garden.

What better way to spend an evening than enjoying a picnic and watching Shakespeare brought to life by skilled actors.