Griffith Park

Free Summer Shakespeare to ‘Huzzah' Again in Griffith Park

'The Tempest' is the Independent Shakespeare Co. treat this time around, and while it will be an in-person production, there are a few changes afoot.


What to Know

  • 'The Tempest,' presented by the Independent Shakespeare Co., opens Aug. 7, 2021
  • Free, but reservations are required (seating is limited this summer); reservations open seven days ahead of a performance date
  • The location has changed due to construction; head "a bit farther up the hill" from the Old Zoo in Griffith Park

Change, transformation, transmogrification, rebirth, and renewal?

You'd be hard-pressed to find a classic Shakespearean character who remains basically the same from page one to the final bow. Rather, everything changes for a protagonist, which makes for some of theater's most dramatic and thrilling tales.

For the Bard's famous figures have a noted knack for falling in love, forming fast friendships, making enemies, making truces, taking difficult journeys of the soul, and, sometimes, all of those things all at once.

Thus it is no surprise when a company known for its summertime Shakespeare productions, the kind of super-popuar, pay-nothing, picnic-under-the-stars events, changes up in response to twists in the plot.

And that is just what the Independent Shakespeare Co. is doing as it returns to the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, following a pandemic-related year away.

The august August production?

That would be "The Tempest," and, much like in the play, theater fans in attendance will find themselves in a different and surprising location, a place that isn't the one they'd first expected to visit.

So while the timeless tale will indeed unfold at Griffith Park starting on Aug. 7, 2021, audience members will want to head up a hill from the Old Zoo, as the former spot for seeing alfresco Shakespeare is undergoing construction.

The reason behind the temporary displacement? It's as sweet as the ever-attentive Ariel is enchanted: The "... new, permanent stage is being built!," shares the company.

We'll "huzzah" that, heartily.

Important to know? You should still plan on parking in the area where you've stowed your own ship, er, car over past summers when you've attended the popular nights.

And speaking of "popular"? Capacity will be limited, with "fewer seats available" this time around.

Which means this: Reservations are a must. The shows are still free to see and enjoy, but you'll want to book your entry ahead of time, and not decide to come ashore, er, visit Griffith Park a few hours ahead of curtain time. (The company says "reservations will open up 7 days in advance of a performance date.")

Much like a tempest, "The Tempest" will eventually come to a conclusion. And that final date? It is the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 5.

And if you're missing the old Old Zoo setting, sea, er, see here: The Independent Shakespeare Co. will again set sail into the Shakespearean canon at its former location, once construction is complete.

Are we such stuff as dreams are made on, as Shakespeare so poignantly pondered in "The Tempest"?

Mull on that, and then make your move to return to a magical world found within an outdoor setting, right in the middle of LA, one that is rife with ensorcelled stagecraft.

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