Shakespeare in the Park 2024 – The Complete Guide

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In the summer there are not only great free concerts or cinema events in the parks of New York. For theater lovers, the Free Shakespeare in the Park event is a perfect option! Plays by William Shakespeare are shown open air in the middle of Central Park at the Delacorte Theater. You should not miss this event in New York!

The event is very popular with New Yorkers and tourists, so it’s hard to get tickets – even though Shakespeare in the Park is free. Here you can find out all the important information about Shakespeare in the Park and how to get your tickets.

Changes for Shakespeare in the Park 2024

This year, Shakespeare in the Park will not take place at the Delacorte Theater, as the theater is currently undergoing the largest renovation in its 62-year history. The reopening is planned for summer 2025.

As a replacement, the Public Theater, under the direction of Oskar Eustis and Patrick Willingham, is offering the free “GO PUBLIC!” program. This festival includes free Shakespeare performances in all five boroughs as well as other summer programs. “GO PUBLIC!” presents The Mobile Unit’s lighthearted, bilingual musical adaptation of “The Comedy of Errors” and also features the acclaimed 2019 production of “Much Ado About Nothing” on screens across the city.

In addition, there are further opportunities to experience the performances at home. The Comedy of Errors will be performed in collaboration with Bryant Park in all boroughs, including Hudson Yards and in front of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

What is Shakespeare in the Park?

The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park is a summer theater event in New York that features plays by William Shakespeare on the open-air stage of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. These outdoor events have been around for more than 60 years; Joseph Papp created them in 1962.

Shakespeare in the Park is a free event!

The free performances are very popular with New Yorkers during the summer. In the past, celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington have participated in the events.

An aerial shot of Delacorte Theater in Central Park
The Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Where do I find Shakespeare in the Park?

Shakespeare in the Park is shown at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The theater is located quite centrally in the park near Turtle Pond. The Museum of Natural History is also nearby.

You can take the B or C subway lines to the 81 Street-Museum of Natural History Station or take the line 6 to the 77 Street station and then walk to the Delacorte Theater.

What is being performed?

Last year there was only one play: Hamlet was performed on the open-air stage. It was directed by Kenny Leon and the main role was played by Ato Blankson-Wood.

When does Shakespeare in the Park take place in 2024?

Usually Shakespeare in the Park takes place from June to August

Where can I get tickets?

Although this event is free, you will need tickets for the performances.
There is a fixed amount of tickets that will be given out for the event. So the sooner you take care of the tickets, the higher the probability that you will get some.

You have several options to get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park:

1. In Central Park at the Delacorte Theater

On the day of the show, tickets will be distributed starting at 12 p.m. in front of the Delacorte Theater. The motto is: first come, first serve! So you should get there VERY EARLY because tickets are extremely popular!
Before you get in line, you must register for a Public Theater Patron ID.

2. The digital lottery

On each day of a performance, tickets will be given away randomly through the TodayTix app. You can enter the lottery for one or two tickets between midnight and noon each day. If you win, you will be notified by 3 p.m. and then have 30 minutes to confirm your tickets on the app. You can then pick up your tickets at the Delacorte Theater between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Make sure to be on time or your tickets will be reassigned!

3. In-person lottery at the Public Theater

Every show day there is an in-person lottery at the Public Theater in Downtown Manhattan. You can register from 11am and the winners will be drawn at 12pm. If you win, you will receive two vouchers that you can exchange for tickets at the Delacorte Theater between 5:30 and 7:30 pm. Again, be on time or tickets will be passed on!

4. The standby line

Every performance night there is a standby line for tickets that were won in the lottery and not picked up. With a lot of luck you can get your tickets. The number of tickets varies and there is a maximum of two tickets per person! Make sure you get your place in the queue in time. For this option you also have to register for a Public Theater ID in advance.

When is the best time to go?

If you have the opportunity, choose an event in the first week. The demand will be higher after that, when the first reviews are published.

Another possibility for higher ticket chances are days for which bad weather is predicted. The Public Theater doesn’t like to cancel performances, that’s why shows take place even in light drizzle. If it rains harder, performances may be interrupted. Pack a rain jacket or take a rain poncho, as umbrellas are not allowed.
Important to know: You cannot exchange tickets for events on rainy days.

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