Shakespeare Garden

Take a virtual look around Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden on a beautiful Fall afternoon!

Shakespeare in Central Park 2014

The Delacorte Theater

The Delacorte Theater

The Public Theater will kick off its 52nd year next month at the Delacorte Theater featuring two of Shakespeare’s classic productions – “Much Ado About Nothing” and “King Lear”.

“Much Ado About Nothing” will play a five-week run at the Park’s Delacorte Theater, from June 3 through July 6. Leading that production will be Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”) as Beatrice and Hamish Linklater (“The Cray Ones”) as Benedick. Rabe and Linklater both have a long history with The Public. Rabe was in the 2012 Shakespeare in the Park production of “As You Like It,” while Linklater headlined last summer’s production of “The Comedy of Errors.” Both actors appeared in 2010’s acclaimed “The Merchant of Venice” with Al Pacino. Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray”) will direct.

Two favorites return with Shakespeare in the Park’s second show of the season: “King Lear,” with John Lithgow in the title role. “Lear” hasn’t been seen in the Park since 1973 — and Lithgow hasn’t been seen on the Park’s stage since 1975 (as Laertes in “Hamlet”). “King Lear” will run at the Delacorte July 22 through Aug. 17, under the direction of Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (“The Merchant of Venice”).

As always, tickets to The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park productions are free and distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on the day of the show. Once again, The Public Theater will offer free tickets through a Virtual Ticketing lottery on the day of the show. Those wishing to participate can register at www.shakespeareinthepark.org.

FAQ (Courtesy of the Public Theater)

What is Free Shakespeare in the Park?
Free Shakespeare in the Park is The Public Theater’s annual season of free plays at the Delacorte Theater in New York City’s Central Park.

What plays are being performed at Free Shakespeare in the Park this year?
This year, Free Shakespeare in the Park will feature MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (June 3 – July 6), by William Shakespeare and directed by Jack O’Brien, and KING LEAR (July 22 – August 17), also by Shakespeare and directed by Daniel Sullivan. For a full schedule, click on the show title.
What time do performances begin?
All performances of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and KING LEAR begin at 8:00pm. For start times for special events, please visit each event’s individual page.
How do I get tickets?
There are a number of ways to get free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, including the Free Ticket Lines at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, distribution in the five boroughs, and on this website via our Virtual Ticketing lottery. For more information, see the Tickets page.
How many tickets can I get by waiting in line?
Each person waiting in line can receive up to two tickets to that night’s performance, subject to availability. To allow as many different people as possible to attend performances throughout the summer, each person will be limited to receiving free tickets to two total performances of each production. Click here for more information.
Are there any separate ticket policies for senior citizens or people with disabilities?
Each person waiting in line can receive up to two tickets to that night’s performance, subject to availability. To allow as many different people as possible to attend performances throughout the summer, each person will be limited to receiving free tickets to two total performances of each production. Click here for more information.
Can I reserve seats to Shakespeare in the Park in advance?
As a thank you for helping to keep Shakespeare in the Park free for all New Yorkers, we are able to offer reserved seats to our Summer Supporters and Partners who support our work through their generous donations. Click here for more information or to donate today.
What if it rains?
No performance will be canceled before 8:00PM, even if it’s raining. We may delay the beginning of the performance, but will perform if and when possible and safe for the actors. Click here for more information.
Why can’t I be in the Park before 6am?
Central Park is closed between the hours of 1:00AM and 6:00AM. NYPD will patrol the Delacorte area and issue summons to anyone in the Park before its official open time. If you choose to line up before 6:00AM, please do so along the east side of Central Park West starting at 81st Street. A Public Theater line monitor will escort the line in at 6:00AM. The Public Theater neither suggests nor condones lining up before the park opens at 6:00AM.
Why are the lines for Shakespeare in the Park so long?
Tens of thousands of free tickets are made available to Free Shakespeare in the Park each summer. While we do our best to accommodate everyone who would like to attend a performance, the demand for tickets is always greater than the number of seats we have available. We appreciate your patience and are working very hard to ensure that the process remains as smooth and equitable as possible.
Are there group tickets to Shakespeare in the Park?
Free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are not available for group reservations. If you would like to attend a performance as a group, the group can wait in the line at the Delacorte Theater, or you can consider the Delacorte Investors program.

Snowdrops – First Flowers Of Spring Appear In Central Park

We stopped by the Shakespeare Garden yesterday to see if we could find some of the earliest spring blooms poking their heads out, even as the last snow were melting.  Can you name all of these hardy early adapters?

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

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Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden – A Celebration of Spring – Literally

One of the many hidden gems of Central Park, the Shakespeare Garden is a lovely spot to “stop and smell the roses”.

Shakespeare Garden in Central Park
John B. Moore
Shakespeare Garden in Central Park.

Nestled between Belvedere Castle and The Swedish Cottage the garden first came into existence in 1913. Known as the Garden of the Heart it was patterned after Victorian era rock gardens. Then, in 1916, to celebrate the tercentennial of Shakespeare’s death, it was rechristened in honor of the Bard and only plants mentioned in his plays were planted there. These include columbine, primrose, wormwood, quince, lark’s heel, rue, eglantine, flax and cowslip, many of which sound as if they would be right at home boiling and bubbling in a cauldron.

Weeds are shallow-rooted, Suffer them now, and they’ll o’ergrow the garden, And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.
William Shakespeare: King Henry the Sixth, Part II (Queen Margaret at III, i)

This quote could have easily applied to Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden by the mid-1970’s. After years of neglect due to budget constraints and general disinterest the Garden had become run down and overgrown. Then in 1975 a group of volunteers stepped in and started to bring the garden back to its former glory. In 1986 the rescue of the garden was complete as a full restoration was undertaken funded by Samuel and May Rudin. The garden was replanted and expanded upward towards Belvedere Castle. The Shakespeare Garden is once again a popular attraction in the park and the perfect place to ruminate after a performance in the nearby Delacorte Theater.

Location: West Side between 79th and 80th Streets