Chicago Shakespeare Theater has canceled a pair of upcoming dates for its popular, free “Shakespeare in the Parks” series, following a shooting during Thursday night’s performance, the theater has announced.
“Thursday night’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks performance was suspended due to gunshots in the vicinity. Everyone is safe and no one is injured, but we recognize how unsettling and distressing this was for all involved,” the theater said in a statement.
“Responding directly to the needs of our team who were in the park, performances in Ogden Park and Ping Tom Memorial Park will not go on as scheduled this weekend.”
Thursday’s performance was underway at Columbus Park in the Austin neighborhood when it was halted. Witnesses told Block Club Chicago that a flurry of gunshots came from the park’s playground, sending the theater audience ducking for cover.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater has been producing pop-up performances in neighborhood parks across the Chicago Park District for 11 years. This year’s show, “ShakesFest: A Chicago Shakespeare Community Cabaret,” is an “exuberant musical revue of songs riffing on familiar (and not-so-familiar) lines from Shakespeare,” according to the theater.
The canceled shows were to have taken place in Englewood on Friday and Chinatown on Saturday.
“We remain committed to our Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks neighbors and communities, and are working with artists and the Chicago Park District to plan for future engagements in these (canceled) locations,” the theater said.