It’s summer in New York City, which means it’s time to take advantage of all the free outdoor events the city has to offer, including the treasured program Shakespeare in the Park. Every year, The Public Theater puts on free plays in Central Park, and this summer, their Shakespeare repertoire includes the Tempest and Cymbeline.
Tickets are free, but there is a per person summer-long limit of two free tickets to two performances of each production. To get tickets, you can wait in line at the Free Ticket Lines at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, located north of the 79th Street Tranverse, in the western half of the park. Distribution begins at noon every day that a public performance is scheduled – check this calendar to find out what’s playing when – and continues until tickets run out. The limit on tickets is two per person, and Central Park opens at 6 a.m. daily, so don’t plan on arriving earlier to wait in line.
You can also enter a variety of lotteries in the hopes of winning tickets. One of them is located at The Public Theater at Astor Place. You can sign up for the lottery starting at 11:30 a.m. the day of a performance, and the drawing happens at 12 noon. Winners are given a maximum of two vouchers per person, which they have to redeem for actual tickets between 5 and 7 p.m. the day of the show at the box office at the Delacorte Theater. Throughout the summer, periodic drawings for tickets will be held in different boroughs – click here for more information on those lotteries.
There is, as always, the option of paying for seats, if you can’t or don’t want to wait in line. The cost of becoming a Summer Supporter of Shakespeare in the Park starts at $200, but includes reserved seats for the entire summer, plus other discounts and perks. The more you donate, the greater the benefits.
This summer, the plays being shown are The Tempest, from May 27 to July 5, and Cymbeline, from July 27 to Aug. 23, according to The Public Theater. Bard-lovers may also want to know that the theater opens about 30 minutes before performance time, which varies. Rain doesn’t necessarily mean performances will be canceled, but umbrellas are not permitted, so dress appropriately.