Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park – A City Tradition
This summer will see the 22nd annual production of Noblesville’s Shakespeare in the Park produced by the Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission. This year, the show will be Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” done in conjunction with an original one act play “What You Will” and will be performed at Seminary Park July 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and August 1. Once again, the Commission will provide an opportunity for the people of Noblesville to enjoy classical theater under the stars.
The NCAC was created by Mayor Mary Sue Rowland in September of 1992 as a city-affiliated, but self-supporting organization. 1993 was also the launch of Shakespeare in the Park. It was proposed by Jane Campbell at the March meeting and, despite doubts from other commission members, Campbell insisted that the attempt be made. July saw the first production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and Campbell’s optimism was confirmed. This is now the longest continuously-running Shakespeare in the Park event in central Indiana and the second oldest in the state.
“Every year is pretty exciting, we always have such a great and talented cast,” said NCAC member David Heighway, who has been involved in the productions since 1993. “We have always tried to do good shows. Some years we have not always had the funds to put on a very high quality production, but we try anyway.”
Since 1993, a group of dedicated actors has spent their summers rehearsing and performing Shakespeare’s plays as they were meant to be seen- in the open air, before an audience of all ages. Parents and children alike, seated comfortably in the grassy park with picnic baskets at their side, can enjoy the evening activities. The relaxed audience atmosphere in combination with modern explanations make the performance understandable for even those people unfamiliar with Shakespeare and is all part of a fun and memorable event. The show is now into its second generation of performers, using actors who were not even born when the first production happened.
Each year, the performances are attended by hundreds of spectators. In 2013, Mayor John Ditslear issued a proclamation saying that July 26 was “Shakespeare in the Park Day”, recognizing the long history of the production. The NCAC is eagerly anticipating the time when the production will have a new home at the planned amphitheater at Federal Hill, providing opportunities for extended rehearsals and elaborate sets, multiple shows and Shakespearean festival events.
For more than two decades, the Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission, with the cooperation of Noblesville City Parks Department, has created free and family-friendly performances of the Bard’s immortal works. The support of the public will help in continuing to create this magic under the stars. Show your support for a community institution and come see Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park.