GRIFFITH PARK—Starting June 25, the Independent Shakespeare Company will kick off its fifth annual Griffith Park Festival with Romeo and Juliet.
The Independent Shakespeare Company will bring their unique flair to this classic romantic tragedy by incorporating an original rock score and a “design that is equal parts fairy tale and punk,” according to the ISC website.
Founded in New York in 1998, the ISC has always “focused on stripping back the conventions of contemporary theater and discovering efficient, entertaining ways to bring great works to a modern audience.”
After moving to Los Angeles in 2001, the ISC began its tradition of outdoor Shakespeare festivals when it partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in 2003. From small beginnings—their first performance of Free Shakespeare in Barnsdall Park was “attended by 14 people and a dog”—the group rapidly gained popularity and critical acclaim. By 2009, their audience had expanded to nearly 12,000 members and outgrew Barnsdall Park.
Since 2010, the ISC has made its summer home in Griffith Park, “creating inspiring, accessible theater and bringing it to as wide an audience as possible.”
Now, with audiences numbering over 43,000, the ISC provides more than plays to the public. Visitors can also attend pre-show Players in the Park workshops for families, pre-show performances by local artists, and Salon Series discussions. The Players in the Park workshops are scheduled at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 12 and Saturday, July 25. Reservations can be made online.
Dates and specific artists for the other activities have yet to be announced.
Performances of “Romeo and Juliet” will run from June 25 to July 26.
From July 30 to August 30, the company will put on a production of “Much Ado About Nothing” set in a “bomb-riddled vineyard” in 1945.
Guests are advised to dress in layers to ward off the nighttime chill, and to bring bug spray and sunscreen. Those who wish to bring chairs with legs lower than three inches may sit behind the chair line. Picnics are encouraged, though alcohol is prohibited in all Los Angeles City parks.
There will also be a concessions tent with “hot and cold beverages, cupcakes, kettle corn and light snacks.”
Admission is free.