The joy and benefits of live theater don’t end when the weather turns gorgeous. In fact, outdoor theater is really a return to the way plays were originally meant to be seen. In that spirit, consider watching a play while enjoying the great outdoors.
Theatre-Hikes stages full plays while hiking the cast and audience about two miles. Each scene takes place in a different natural setting. This season it will present four plays at four different outdoor locations.
The lineup includes "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" May 31-Aug. 16, "The Taming of the Shrew" July 26-Sept. 28, "Dracula" Oct. 4-26 and, for the first time ever, a theatre-bike-hike of the play "Key Exchange" on selected Saturdays, June 21-Sept. 20.
Performances take place at the North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski Road in Chicago; the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53 in Lisle; White Pines Forest State Park, 6712 W. Pines Road, Oregon; and Oak Park Festival Theatre, 100 block of North Forest Avenue in Oak Park. For a complete performance schedule and ticket information, check out www.theatre-hikes.org.
If your kids have never experienced Shakespeare, consider Oak’s Park’s Festival Theatre. Special Family Days (June 22-29) allow kids and grown-ups to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, pre-show activities at 3:30 p.m. and an early performance of "Much Ado About Nothing" at 5 p.m. Activities change yearly, but include dancing and stage combat workshops, storytelling, tours of the set and backstage, plus simple explanations of the show.
Activities and performances take place in Oak Park’s Austin Gardens. The Family Package is $45 (up to two adults and up to four children); $20 adults, $15 seniors/students, $8 kids under 8, free kids 4 and under. For more information, call (708) 445-4440 or check online at www.oakparkfestival.com.