Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Celebrates 10th Anniversary with DREAM

Jul 14, 2021
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Dream

Chicago Shakespeare Theater celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks with a re-envisioned creative community engagement program. Through a unique collaboration with local artists and arts organizations, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will present the free theatrical event DREAM: A Community Reimagining of A Midsummer Night's Dream created with Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Cage Sebastian Pierre, GQ, and Joriah Kwame, and created and performed with collaborators from six featured partner neighborhoods, including: Me'Lo The Generation Hero and DJ Jeremy Heights from Englewood; Move Me Soul from Austin; Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center from Hermosa; Yin He Dance from Chinatown; and partners to be announced from Little Village and West Pullman. Artisans from the Fulton Street Collective in West Town are collaborating on the design of the production's pop-up mobile stage.

Since its establishment in 2012, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has been fueled by the transformative power of neighborhood-based collaborations, reaching more than 175,000 Chicagoans citywide. The program has built a network of connectivity between more than 600 civic, cultural, and corporate partners and thousands of neighborhood artists have shared the stage with Chicago Shakespeare performers.

Building on partnerships that have been forged through the past decade and in direct response to neighborhoods' evolving needs, this new reimagining of the annual summer tradition seeks to expand the program's social impact by deepening relationships with community partners and by approaching the artistic process in a more intentionally participatory, equitable, and inclusive way.

This summer's creative collaboration will culminate in free performances of DREAM in each of the partner communities:

August 24, 2021 at 6:00pm | Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.) in Englewood
August 26, 2021 at 6:00pm | Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.) in Austin
August 28, 2021 at 6:00pm | Kelvyn Park (4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.) in Hermosa
August 31, 2021 at 6:00pm | Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.) in Little Village
September 2, 2021 at 6:00pm | West Pullman Park (401 W. 123rd St.) in West Pullman
September 4, 2021 at 6:00pm | Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.) in Chinatown

Inspired by the city's Together We Heal and INVEST South/West initiatives, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks also launches the Theater's new, year-round community connectivity program. In addition to the annual Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production, the program aims to offer professional development and employment opportunities and to create a community partner cohort, featuring year-long engagements with neighborhood-based arts organizations to mutually offer advocacy initiatives, workshops, classes, and community-building events.

Theater-makers Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel and Cage Sebastian Pierre will guide the collaborative process as creative facilitators. An accomplished actor, singer and dancer, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel is an ensemble member at Teatro Vista, and has worked with Lookingglass Theatre, Court Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare-where she most recently performed in audio play productions of Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Gonzalez-Cadel earned her degree in theater from The Universidad del Salvador and speaks fluent Spanish, English, and French. She has been featured as one of the Chicago Tribune's "10 Hot New Faces of Chicago Theatre" and won a Jeff Award for her portrayal of Lela in Streep Theatre's wildly successful Lela & Co. Cage Sebastian Pierre is an actor, teaching artist, and fight choreographer who has worked with American Players Theatre, Timeline Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare, appearing in Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has played a central artistic role in the Theater's education programming as a Creative Lead for Chicago Shakespeare SLAM, which annually brings together 300 high school students from across the region to explore the work of Shakespeare through their own creative voices.

In a joint statement, Gonzalez-Cadel and Pierre shared, "Our roles feature the word 'facilitator' because we are here to support a new way of intentional collaboration-one where the artistic process is not imposed but discovered, creating space to learn from one another. This exchange of knowledge and spirit will be the foundation of our work, guiding us towards a model of creation that celebrates people and the rich legacies we bring into the space by asking, 'What are your classics?'"

Collaborating on the script is Chicago's own GQ-best known as the founder and creative director of the Q Brothers Collective. In addition to being fixtures at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, their award-winning commissions with Chicago Shakespeare include Othello: The Remix, which premiered at Shakespeare's Globe and toured to sold-out houses around the world-and Funk It Up About Nothin', recipient of the Dress Circle Award for Best Musical Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Composing original music for DREAM is Joriah Kwame. A composer, producer and performer, Kwame is recognized as a fresh new voice for American musical theater. In 2019, he won the Write Out Loud competition presented by Taylor Louderman with his viral hit song "Little Miss Perfect," which he is adapting into a full-length musical with book by Lauren Gunderson. This spring, Kwame worked with Chicago Shakespeare to create original music for the audio play production of Twelfth Night and served as the composer and lead soloist for the musical finale "Shine So Bright" in the Theater's virtual To Be: 4/23 event.