News and Events


Summer 2016: New location!

This summer the ISC performs Henry VI and Twelfth Night outdoors in Allan H. Treman State Marine Park (near the Cayuga Lake inlet and marina). See a map of our new lakeside performance venue!


Summer Shakespeare Moving to Allan H. Treman State Marine Park Beginning July 2016

June 3, 2016 (Ithaca, NY) - All the world’s a stage, and the Allan H. Treman State Marine Park will provide the stage for outdoor Shakespeare in Ithaca beginning this July.

The Ithaca Shakespeare Company, Inc. will present its outdoor performances in a beautiful meadow at the north end of the Marine Park that is bounded on one side by the Cayuga Inlet and encircled on all other sides by a grove of tall trees.

“We are delighted that Ithaca Shakespeare will present its summer program in our Park,” said Fred Bonn, Director of New York State Parks for the Finger Lakes Region. “They have a long tradition of excellent performances, and we are very pleased to offer theatre of such fine quality to our visitors at the Park.” Jim Brophy, Park Manager, added: “I’m a Shakespeare fan, and I could not be more pleased that the Park will be hosting these shows.”

“We’re grateful to have this new home,” said Michael Pinnisi, President of the Ithaca Shakespeare Board of Directors. “The Park’s meadow on the Inlet is an exceptional performance space with great natural beauty, clear lines of sight, and protection from the sun for our audiences, and there’s no traffic noise. There is ample parking in paved lots, and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail passes nearby. And, we’ll have the space to offer something new – an area for pre-show entertainment and refreshments. We’re working out arrangements with some very talented people, and we’ll share more information about this as it develops.”

“The Hangar Theatre warmly welcomes its new neighbor for summer theatre,” said Josh Friedman, Managing Director of the Hangar. “We have collaborated with Ithaca Shakespeare in the past few years by hosting its indoor shows in our facility, and we are jointly marketing our summer programs this year in a ‘Come for the Gorges, Stay for a Show’ campaign. We think it’s wonderful that the Park will host Ithaca Shakespeare and I’m excited by the energy and opportunity that this move creates for our audiences, tourists, and our two organizations.”

Ithaca Shakespeare began performing outdoor Shakespeare at the Cornell Plantations in 2003. The first performances were done on a very small scale, but the program has grown steadily since then and is now the largest Shakespeare festival in Central New York, with a total attendance of about 4,000 a year. “We have many fond memories of our time at Cornell Plantations, and we’re grateful to them for hosting the performances for so many years,” said Stephen Ponton, Artistic Director of Ithaca Shakespeare. “But this move is a necessary step as we continue to expand the scope of our program.”

"We are saddened to learn that Ithaca Shakespeare will be moving its summer productions from the Cornell Plantations to a new location. As the Bard wrote, ‘parting is such sweet sorrow,’” said Christopher Dunn, the E. N. Wilds director of Cornell Plantations. "It has been our honor to watch the ISC grow from the Summer House in the botanic garden, to Jackson Grove in the arboretum, and now to the shores of Cayuga Lake. Our partnership has been a mutually rewarding one. We wish them nothing but great success in the years to come.”

Ithaca Shakespeare will feature two very different shows this summer: Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare's most popular romantic comedies, in rotating repertory with a rare treat, Henry VI: A Tiger's Heart, the latest episode in Ithaca Shakespeare’s presentation of the Bard’s epic history plays. Be prepared for many laughs in the former, and for much sword play and power struggles in the latter – a true game of thrones.

Twelfth Night will be performed July 7, 10, 14, 16, 22, and 24; and Henry VI will be performed on July 8, 9, 15, 17, 21, and 23. All shows will begin at 6:00 pm. Pre-show activities will begin at about 5:00 pm on each show night.

The Allan H. Treman State Marine Park is on NYS Route 89, just north of Cass Park. Entrances for the Marine Park are through the access road off of Taughannock Boulevard immediately next to the Hangar Theatre, and via the Cass Park Access Road next to the ice rink. Signs along the access roads will direct you to the parking and Shakespeare performance areas.

To purchase tickets online, and for more information about Ithaca Shakespeare and its upcoming shows, visit www.ithacashakespeare.org.

Ithaca Shakespeare Company Presents Henry IV and A Midsummer Night's Dream At Cornell Plantations In July 2015

May 4, 2015 (Ithaca, NY) - This July, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company will present the most popular of Shakespeare's plays in his own time alongside his most popular play today.

Henry IV is the second production in ISC's series of Shakespeare's history plays, which began with Richard II at the Hangar Theatre in February.

In Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke deposed and murdered King Richard and took the throne for himself. Now, in Henry IV, he must deal with the consequences of his actions: his feelings of guilt over killing his kinsman, the rebellions that break out against his rule across the country, and his troubled relationship with his own son.

Henry IV, Part One was the most popular of Shakespeare's plays in his own time, largely due to the appeal of Falstaff. "It's such an incredibly entertaining play," says Artistic Director Stephen Ponton. "It's got everything in it: there's the rowdy, boisterous comedy of Falstaff and the tavern world, there's the big battle sequence between King Henry and the rebels, there's the father-son dynamic between Prince Hal and King Henry, and there's the overall coming-of-age story of Prince Hal - who will go on to become one of the most beloved English kings, Henry V, in the next play. It was such a hit in Shakespeare's time that it generated multiple sequels and spin-offs." This production will blend material from Henry IV, Part One and Part Two into a single play.

Henry IV will be presented in rotating repertory this summer with a new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, easily the most popular of Shakespeare's plays in the modern world. "It's a play we've done several times before at Plantations," says Ponton, "but it's so brilliantly written that it never gets old, no matter how many times you've seen it or performed it. And we always try to put a new spin on the characters and the staging. Only two actors will be reprising their roles from previous productions. The rest will be new, and we're looking forward to making the fairies even more mischievous and emphasizing their interactions with the human world to a greater degree."

The productions will be performed on alternating nights on a single stage in the Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations.

This summer's production of Henry IV is the second production in ISC's two-year cycle of Shakespeare's English history plays. Shakespeare wrote ten plays on English history, of which eight form a continuous narrative sequence. ISC is combining and condensing these eight plays into a series of five productions, one for each king in the sequence. The series will continue with Henry V at the Hangar in February 2016, Henry VI at Cornell Plantations in July 2016, and Richard III at the Hangar in the fall of 2016.

"I think this will be one of the most exciting things we've ever done," says Ponton. "The history plays are my favorites of all of Shakespeare's works, and collectively I think they are his single greatest achievement. These are absolutely not dry, dusty history lessons. They're the original Game of Thrones - wild, exciting plays that chronicle almost 100 years of violent conflict for the English throne. They're full of life and variety and contain the greatest comic character Shakespeare ever created in Falstaff, one of his most powerful female roles in Queen Margaret, and some of the most thrilling staging he ever imagined."

Each production in this series will be connected to the ones before and after it through introductions and linking scenes, so that they form a single continuous narrative. "We're approaching it kind of like a movie franchise," says Ponton. "We hope people will be able to experience the whole sequence, so we're working hard to tie the stories together and make them clear. So don't worry if you're not familiar with these plays or have found them confusing in the past - we'll make sure everyone understands who these characters are and what they're fighting for."

The history sequence is being offered as part of ISC's 3-year celebration of Shakespearean Milestones, in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in 2014 and the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.

Henry IV will be performed July 9, 11, 17, 19, 23, and 25, 2015. A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed July 10, 12, 16, 18, 24, and 26, 2015. All shows begin at 6 pm in Jackson Grove, in the F.R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations.

Tickets are available now. Prices range from $10-25, and both general admission and reserved seating is available. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the Ithaca Shakespeare Company's website at www.ithacashakespeare.org.

Tickets will also be available at the entrance to the site before performances.

Ithaca Shakespeare Company Begins Cycle of Shakespeare's History Plays With Richard II At The Hangar Theatre In February 2015

December 10, 2014 (Ithaca, NY) — Over the next two years, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company will present a cycle of Shakespeare's English history plays, beginning with Richard II at the Hangar Theatre, February 13-21, 2015.

Shakespeare wrote ten plays on English history, of which eight form a continuous narrative sequence. Ithaca Shakespeare will be combining and condensing these eight plays into a series of five productions, one for each king in the sequence. They will be performed over the next two years, alternating between indoor productions at the Hangar and outdoor productions over the summer at Cornell Plantations.

The series will begin with Richard II at the Hangar Theatre in February 2015, then continue with Henry IV at Cornell Plantations in July 2015, Henry V at the Hangar in February 2016, Henry VI at Cornell Plantations in July 2016, and finish with Richard III at the Hangar in the fall of 2016.

"I think this will be one of the most exciting things we've ever done," says ISC Artistic Director Stephen Ponton. "The history plays are my favorites of all of Shakespeare's works, and collectively I think they are his single greatest achievement. These are absolutely not dry, dusty history lessons. They're the original Game of Thrones — wild, exciting plays that chronicle almost 100 years of violent conflict for the English throne. They're full of life and variety and contain the greatest comic character Shakespeare ever created in Falstaff, one of his most powerful female roles in Queen Margaret, and some of the most thrilling staging he ever imagined."

Richard II is the play that starts it all. It sets up the basic conflict that carries through the rest of the plays. "Richard II is such a rich play," Ponton continues. "It asks the question, what do you do when the person in power misuses his authority? Richard is the lawful king, but he abuses his power to the point that the other nobles are driven to rise up against him — only to discover, when they succeed, that they have opened the door for others to do the same to them. This sets up the cycle of conflict and rebellion that drives the country into the chaos of civil war in Henry VI and reaches its final, stunning conclusion in Richard III. At the same time, Richard II himself is a fascinating character, one of those typical Shakespearean tragic figures who loses everything and in the process manages to find himself — just a little too late."

Each production in this series will be connected to the ones before and after it through introductions and linking scenes, so that they form a single continuous narrative. "We're approaching it kind of like a movie franchise," says Ponton. "We hope people will be able to experience the whole sequence, so we're working hard to tie the stories together and make them clear. So don't worry if you're not familiar with these plays or have found them confusing in the past — we'll make sure everyone understands who these characters are and what they're fighting for."

This will be the second year that Ithaca Shakespeare has performed at the Hangar Theatre, after a successful production of The Tempest there in February 2014. The history sequence is being offered as part of ISC's 3-year celebration of Shakespearean Milestones, in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in 2014 and the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.

Richard II will be performed February 13-15 and 19-21, 2015. Evening shows will be at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 4 pm.

Tickets will be available soon. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the Ithaca Shakespeare Company's website at www.ithacashakespeare.org.

Tickets will also be available by phone by calling the Hangar Theatre at 607-273-8588, or at the door before performances.

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