"Shakespeare in the Parks" Tour Spreads Free Theater to All Ages

July 27, 2014

The Hamner Theater switching things up this summer by moving their Shakespeare tour from local wineries in the area to parks in Charlottesville.

"Just by walking by they'll see what's going on. They don't have to worry about driving or parking, they can just come in watch a show, stay for as long as they want and then leave," says Hamner Theater artistic director, Boomie Pedersen.

Pedersen says putting on productions of Shakespeare's comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' is the perfect way to spread a very relevant story throughout the city.

"The friar has an amazing speech in the second half about how you only really realize what you have once you've lost it and I think that is happening more and more to people these days. It's a play about love. It's a play about wit, arguing and wanting to get revenge and it ends happily," she says.

"Charlottesville is such a wonderful arts town and all the stories and plays of Shakespeare are universal and everyone can relate to them. This is the perfect town for it," says play patron Martha Stafford.

Families and Shakespeare fans alike were invited to bring picnics, chairs and blankets out to Lee Park Sunday for a fun and family-friendly outing.

"It's not every day you get to come and see a nice traditional Shakespeare play in the park so I think it's something we'll definitely come back to," says play patron Elisia Holderfield.

The Hamner Theater is putting on the free shows thanks to donations which cover production costs, but Pedersen says she hopes with any future donations or grants she'll be able to pay the actors.

The group's next show is this Friday at Tonsler Park at 7:30 PM.

Schedule of performances:
August 1, 2 & 3: Tonsler Park
August 8, 9 &10: Belmont Park
August 15, 16 & 17: Washington Park

Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 pm. Sunday performances begin at 5 pm.

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