Shakespeare in the Park returns for third season at Wisconsin State Parks

MADISON – Visitors to Wisconsin State Park System properties will have 16 opportunities to enjoy “Shakespeare in the Park” performances this summer. The performances begin July 17 and run through July 30.

A scene from last summer's Summit Players production of Shakespeare in the Park.
A scene from last summer’s Summit Players production of Shakespeare in the Park.
Photo Credit: Summit Players

The Wisconsin-based traveling theatre group Summit Players Theatre is returning for a third season to Wisconsin state park system properties, this year performing Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. All performances are free, but a daily or annual state park admission sticker is needed to enter most park system properties. Each performance is preceded by a 45-minute educational workshop.

Each The Comedy of Errors show is 75 minutes long. The group’s educational workshop, “Playing with Shakespeare: Get Outside with Will,” is offered before every show. It serves as a way for kids and “fun adults” to get comfortable with Shakespeare’s language, as well as learning more about the man himself and the way nature played into his works. Participants get to take part in Shakespeare games and exercises culminating in performing a short scene.

Through a collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Summit Players are also able to introduce audiences to different state park system properties around the state.

This summer the theater troupe will be performing
This summer the theater troupe will be performing “A Comedy of Errors” at 16 different properties.
Photo Credit: Summit Players

“We’re extremely happy to establish yet another partnership with outside groups that work with us to enhance visitor experiences at Wisconsin State Park System properties,” said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin state parks director. “Partnerships are key to us being able to provide a multitude of opportunities for visitors to enjoy our parks.”

After being founded by a group of Marquette University students two years ago, the Summit Players Theater group is now an established nonprofit company. The company is still seeking donations for their 2017 season, which can be made through its or website www.summitplayerstheatre.com (exit DNR).

“The Summit Players’ mission is to promote overlap between nature and the performing arts by providing accessible outdoor theater to young people and their families,” said A.J. Magoon, an actor and public relations director for the troupe.

To find all events at Wisconsin state park system properties, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “Get Outdoors.”  To find Shakespeare in the Park performances, click on the “Type” button and select only “Theater Productions.”

The Players’ third season will consist of the following performances:

  • June 17: Richard Bong State Recreation Area – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • June 18: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit – workshop: 1 p.m.; show: 2:30 p.m.
  • June 23: Havenwoods State Forest – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • June 24: Devil’s Lake State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • June 25: Blue Mound State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • June 30: Summerstage at Kettle Moraine State Forest – Lapham Peak Unit workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 1: Potawatomi State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 2: High Cliff State Park – workshop: 1 p.m.; show: 2:30 p.m.
  • July 14: Three Bridges Park on the Hank Aaron State Trail workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 15: Lake Kegonsa State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 16: Mirror Lake State Park – workshop: 1 p.m.; show: 2:30 p.m.
  • July 21: Rib Mountain State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 22: Copper Falls State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 28: Lakeshore State Park–  workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 29: Kohler Andrae State Park – workshop: 5:30 p.m.; show: 7 p.m.
  • July 30: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Pike Lake Unit workshop: 1 p.m.; show: 2:30 p.m.