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Free Summer Theater in Manhattan

NYC Free Things To Do In Manhattan 2018

Free Things To Do In Manhattan - Free Summer Theater On the Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca & Shakespeare in Central Park in NYC

July 16, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Dance & Theater / Theatre Manhattan / Manhattan Things To Do / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

manhattan free summer theater uws ues upper east side upper west side manhattan nyc free summer theater manhattan nycSummer is in full swing. A number of community groups in collaboration with the NYC Parks Department and frequently some measure of government funding, have put together a summer full of free summer theater in the parks. The free theatre events listed below are designed for young and old alike and they're FREE.

There's also NOT FREE theater including the Fringe Festival - a festival of avante garde original theater - in the Village in late July / early August may also be of interest. See our weekend posts and things to do calendar for details. Also, the Midtown International Theater Festival which is a festival of short, generally modern original works, also runs about the same time period, frequently in and around the Manhattan Theatre District. Neither of these are free, but they don't cost a lot. Tickets at some of the productions go fast and there is frequently limited seating at the various participating venues.

Foreign Films / Free Movies in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free movies in the park - summer movies in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca.

SummerStage Concerts in Manhattan. Click here to view our report showing the paid & free SummerStage concerts in Manhattan.

Music / Concerts in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free concerts in the parks - summer concerts in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca this summer 2016.

Current Manhattan Things To Do. Click here to view a listing of current Manhattan things to do or click here to view our member submitted Manhattan events calendar.


Directory of Free Summer Theater in Manhattan NYC

Click for Each Neighborhood - Performances Organized by Month

July 16, 2018 / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

1. Upper West Side Free Summer Theater - Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

2. Upper East Side Free Summer Theater Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

3. Central Park Free Summer Theater NYC - free summer theater & things to do

4. Midtown Manhattan Free Summer Theater Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

5. East & West Village Free Summer Theater - Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

6. SoHo Bowery & Lower East Side Free Summer Theater - Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

7. Downtown NYC & Tribeca Free Summer Theater - Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

8. Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights Free Summer Theater - NYC - free summer theater & things to do

 

Also Check Our Monthly NYC Events / Manhattan Things To Do Calendar



1. Upper West Side UWS - Free Theater

Free Shakespeare At Soldiers & Sailors Monument 2018

Free Things To Do In Upper West Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Riverside Park

free summer theater uws ues upper east side upper west side manhattan nyc free summer theater uws upper west side ues upper east side riverside park carl schurz parkClick here to view a Riverside Park map [TBD]. The theatrical and Shakespearean productions are performed on the north patio of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument which can be accessed at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive [see photo at right].

The free theatrical productions / Shakespeare in the Park is organized by the Hudson Warehouse a theater company.

  • June 7 - July 1, 2018 Thursdays thru Sundays from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free but donations welcome - Romeo & Juliet directed by Nicholas Martin-Smith - A play described on the NYC Parks website as, "Mr. Martin-Smith sets the story in modern day Boston where Juliet Capulet and her family come from an old, established Italian “Family,” led by Don Capulet, played by Joseph Hamel. They feud with the rough and tumble Irish family, The Montagues. It’s to this family that the boxer and poet Romeo belongs." Free summer theater / plays on the Upper West Side UWS.
  • July 5 - July 29, 2018 Thursdays thru Sundays from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free but donations welcome - The D'Artagnan Romances Part II - The Three Musketeers Twenty Years Later - by Suzanne Lee adapted from a play by Alexandre Dumas & directed by Nicholas Martin-Smith - Based on an adventure and historic play that begins with a young man seeking his fortune, meeting up with three others. It explores the debate for monarchy versus a republic form of government. This one is billed as the Revenge of Milady - perhaps part of the #MeToo movement? Free summer theater / plays on the Upper West Side UWS.
  • August 2 - 26, 2018 Thursdays thru Sundays from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free - Hamlet - A play about the King of Denmark, murdered by his own brother. Hamlet, the son, attempts to avenge his father's death, killing the wrong man for which he too must die. But justice peaks its head through at the end. Free summer theater / plays on the Upper West Side UWS.

Also see free summer movies on the UWS Upper West Side Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood.




2. Upper East Side UES - Free Theater 2018

Free Summer Theater in Carl Schurz Park

Free Things To Do In Upper East Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Carl Schurz Park

Click here to view a Carl Schurz Park map. The theatrical and Shakespearean productions are performed at Carl Schurz Park at East End and 86th Street.

  • Wednesday - Tuesday, July 17 thru Sunday, July 22, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm - Romeo & Juliet - a romantic tragedy about two feuding families, two true lovers and a costly lesson for all. Performed by NY Classical Theatre Company in Carl Schurz Park. Free.

Also see free summer movies on the UES Upper East Side Manhattan and the free summer concerts on the Upper East Side and the things to do section of the UES Upper East Side Neighborhood.




3. Central Park - Free Theater in Manhattan

Free Theater & Shakespeare in Central Park 2018

Free Things To Do In Upper East Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Central Park

free shakespeare in the park free shakespeare delacorte theater central park nyc shakespeare in the park manhattanClick here to view a Central Park map. The photo to your right was taken at Central Park between the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. The Shakespearean productions are performed at the Delacorte Theatre which can be accessed via the West 82nd Street entrance on the UWS and the 86th Street entrance on the UES [see photo at right]. Limited seating available - some tickets must be picked up the day of the performance.

The free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park is organized by the Public Theater Company and is free. The other events listed here are performed by other companies as noted and are also free.

Shakespeare at Delacorte Theater Central Park 5.29 - 6.24

  • May 29 - June 24, 2018 [some dates are excepted] beginning at 8 pm - Othello - Shakespearean tragedy about a jealous husband who believes a conniving assistant who wants revenge for being passed over on a promotion. He believes the liar and the worst in others, failing to believe those who are telling the truth. Free theater - Free Shakespeare in the park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Et tu Brute?

Central Park - 6.5 - 6.24

  • [UNCONFIRMED] June 5 - 24, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm - Romeo & Juliet - a romantic tragedy about two feuding families, two true lovers and a costly lesson for all. Performed by NY Classical Theater. Enter Central Park at 103rd Street and Central Park West. Free.

Shakespeare at Delacorte Theater Central Park 7.17 - 8.19

  • Tuesday, July 17 through Sunday, August 19, 2018 beginning at 8 pm [except Mondays & 7/29 & 7/31] - Twelfth Night - A comedy and romance that has lasted centuries about misunderstandings and mistaken identities. It has many themes including gender ambiguity. Free Shakespeare in the park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Mineral Springs in Central Park

  • Laughter in the Park 2018 - this year in Washington Square Park, Battery Park & Tompkins Square Park. Scroll down for details in those neighborhoods / parks.

Harlem Meer Shakespeare in the Park

  • It seems there aren't any plays this year 2018 - there were two last year - BUT there's a musical performance festival that runs from June 17 - September 2, 2018 from 2 - 4 pm on Sundays.

Also see free summer movies on the UES Upper East Side Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the UES Upper East Side Neighborhood.




4. Midtown Manhattan NYC - Free Summer Theater

Free Theater in Bryant Park 2018

Free Things To Do In Midtown NYC - Free Summer Broadway At Bryant Park

Click here to view a Bryant park map [TBD]. The free summer Broadway theater events are organized by Bryant Park Org. The photo to your right was taken at the Midtown International Theater Festival in an earlier year.

Midtown International Theater Festival - On Hiatus 2018

  • summer theater bryant park midtown manhattan nyc free summer theater hells kitchen chelsea free summer theaterSummer 2018 - ON HIATUS - Midtown International Theater Festival - According to their website they're on hiatus - likely returning in the Fall of 2018. Historically at various times the plays had been performed at The WorkShop Theater's Main Stage and Jewel Box Theaters at 312 West 36th Street in Midtown. Tickets were $20 and details at www.midtownfestival.org.

Bryant Park

  • Monday, April 23, 2018 from 6 - 8 pm - The Folio is Female - Great Women of Shakespeare. BryantPark.org says, "Shakespeare’s 454th Birthday Celebration ... A birthday party for the Bard that celebrates the dynamic female leads of Shakespeare’s plays. The evening will feature classic monologues and scenes performed by The Drilling Company, as well as a New Orleans Second Line funeral processional by the Jambalaya Brass Band to spirit the Bard into Bryant Park."
  • Friday & Saturdays Only, May 18 - June 2, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm - A Midsummer Night's Dream - by Shakespeare. An adaptation Bryant Park org described as, "A familiar sight – a romantic Bryant Park wedding – develops into a modern-day twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, full of madcap revelry and literary fantasy." Free summer theater organized by Bryant Park Corp, performed on the Upper Terrace in Midtown Manhattan NYC.
  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday, July 27 - 29, 2018 - from 7 - 9 pm Friday & Saturday & from 3 - 5 pm on Sunday - Twelfth Night - by Shakespeare. An adaptation Bryant Park org described as, "Twins Sebastian and Viola stumble upon the flamboyant, technicolor world of Illyria, visually inspired by the surreal wonderlands of The Wizard of Oz, Yellow Submarine and the works of Doctor Seuss – an exuberant live-action cartoon." Free summer theater organized by Bryant Park Corp and performed on the Lawn in Midtown Manhattan NYC.
  • Fridays & Saturdays, August 24 - September 8, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm - Mac Beth- by Shakespeare. An adaptation Bryant Park org described as, "A 'Gangs of New York'-styled Macbeth, set in the mid-1800s when early settlers fought for turf in the infamous Five Points area." Free summer theater organized by Bryant Park Corp and performed on the Upper Terrace in Midtown Manhattan NYC.

 

Contemporary & Folk Dance in Bryant Park

  • Wednesdays, May 2 - June 6, 2018 from 6 - 8.30 pm except opening and closing days when it's from 5 - 10 pm - Dance Party - Learn how to dance to live bands with free dance instruction at Fountain Terrace in Bryant Park. The following is their schedule - May 2: Salsa Dura, May 9: Bhangra, May 16: Tangolandó, May 23: Swing, May 30: Cumbia & Vallenato, June 6: Bachata. And on Friday, June 8, 2018 there's a Latin Festival – Cha Cha, Boogaloo, and Salsa Mix.
  • Fridays Only, June 22 - July 20, 2018 from 6 - 8 pm - Contemporary Dance Performances by Top Local NYC Dancers & Choreographers - by several companies each night - on the Bryant Park Stage. The following are the scheduled performances - June 22: Harlem School of the Arts / AThomasProject / Eryc Taylor Dance / Graham 2 // June 29: Peridance Contemporary Dance Company / NOW Dance Project / MINDY DANCIN JACKSON / Clifton Brown // July 6: Steps on Broadway Summer Study NYC Theater/Jazz Intensive // Monteleone Dance / Tiffany Mills Company // Jennifer Muller/The Works // July 13: Diva Dance Studio / Bryn Cohn + Artists / Kinetic Cabaret Productions / Kate Weare Company / Tina Croll + Company // July 20: Earl Mosely Institute of the Arts / Gabrielle Lamb’s Pigeonwing Dance / Julia Ehrstrand / HopeBoykinDance.
  • Friday, September 21, 2018 beginning at 5 pm - Square Dance / Free - Swing your partner round & round in the big city.

Also see free summer movies in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the Midtown Neighborhood.




5. East Village & West Village NYC - (mostly) Free Summer Theater

Free Summer Theater in Washington Square Park 2018

Free Things To Do In The East Village & West Village NYC - Free Summer Theater In Washington Square Park

summer theater east village west village free summer theater manhattan nycClick here to view a Washington Square park map. The photo to your right was taken at the Fringe Theater Festival in the East Village in a prior year.

 

Washington Square Park

  • Sunday, July 8, 2018 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Garibaldi Plaza in Washington Square Park in the Village. Organized by the Parks Dept & Laughter in the Park. Free summer theater in the Village.
  • Tuesdays, July 10 - September 18, 2018 from 6 - 8 pm / Free - Tango Nights at Washington Square Park in Holley Plaza. The Washington Square Park Conservancy tells us this. "Dance the night away with Strictly Tango NYC dance school with FREE tango classes and open milonga at Washington Square Park. Strictly Tango brings you “an authentic Buenos Aires Tango feeling.” Come with your partner, your friends or come by yourself and find a new dancing partner."

 

FringeNYC Moving to October 2018

  • October 2018 - Fringe Theater Festival to return. Tickets will go on sale on September 1, 2018. See www.fringenyc.org for details. EDITOR'S NOTE: The Fringe NYC Festival went on hiatus in 2017 after 20 years to re-evaluate who they have become and what they want to be. In 2016 the Fringe NYC Theater Festival - during their 20th anniversary year - the Fringe Theater Festival featured 1,100 performances & 200 shows for 16 days with tickets costing $16. Shows including performance art, solos, multi-media, drama, comedy, musicals, dance & vaudville. Summer theater in the Village neighborhood of Manhattan NYC.

 

Also see free summer movies in the East Village West Village Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the W & E Village Neighborhood.




6. Lower East Side, Bowery, SoHo Manhattan NYC

Free Summer Theater - SoHo, Bowery & LES

Free Things To Do Near SoHo, Bowery on the Lower East Side LES

manhattan free summer theater manhattan tribeca bowery soho nyc free summer theater manhattanClick here to view an East River Amphitheater map in SoHo / the Bowery. The photo to your right was taken by Allison Brzezinski, Founder & Artistic Director of CheckItDance, at one of their performances along the East River near Solar One - which is not the location, but north of it - and gives you a sense of East River theater.

 

These two free summer theater events are organized by the parks department with American Thymele Theatre.

 

East River Park Amphitheatre

  • Thursday & Friday, August 2 & 3, 2018 from 6 to 7.30 pm - New York NY Euripides Summer Festival - Suppliants - "Widows and children of war victims go to Eleusis, near Athens, to seek justice and permission to bury their dead heroes." At the East River Park Amphitheater in John V. Lindsay East River Park at Grand Street exit between Cherry & Jackson. Free summer theater on the Lower East Side [aka LES] near SoHo and Tribeca in Manhattan NYC. Free.

Tompkins Square Park

  • Sunday, July 22, 2018 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Tompkins Square Park - Billed as, "Laughter in the Park is a free, outdoor weekly comedy series, presented by NYLaughs.org, that takes place over the course of five weeks throughout the summer." Enter park from East 7th Street between Avenues A & B - by Laughter in the Park Org.

Also see free summer movies in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the Midtown Neighborhood.




7. Downtown NYC & Tribeca - Free Summer Theater 2018

Free Shakespeare at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park & Rockefeller Park

These events are being staged near the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park & at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City.

Nelson Rockefeller Park

  • Tuesday - Sunday June 26 - July 1, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm / Free - Romeo & Juliet - a romantic tragedy about two feuding families, two true lovers and a costly lesson for all. Performed by NY Classical Theater. Free summer theater in Tribeca / Downtown NYC.

Battery Park at Clinton Monument

  • Sunday, July 1 & 15, 2018 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Battery Park - Billed as, "Laughter in the Park is a free, outdoor weekly comedy series, presented by NYLaughs.org, that takes place over the course of five weeks throughout the summer." near the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park. Free summer theater in Tribeca / Downtown NYC - by Laughter in the Park Org.
  • Tuesday - Sunday, July 3 - 15, 2018 [not Mondays?] beginning at 7 pm / Free - Romeo & Juliet - a romantic tragedy about two feuding families, two true lovers and a costly lesson for all. Performed by by NY Classical Theatre Company - near the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park. Free summer theater in Tribeca / Downtown NYC.

Battery Park Dance Festival

  • Saturday, August 11, 2018 beginning at 8 pm - Battery Dance Festival - in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park at 20 Battery Place just south of 1st Place. Screening of Moving stories. Free summer dance performances in Manhattan.
  • August 12 - 18, 2018 from 7 - 9 pm - Battery Dance Festival - in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park at 20 Battery Place just south of 1st Place - 37th Annual Dance Festival featuring dozens of choreographers and dancers from around the city, the nation and parts of the world. Free summer dance performances in Manhattan.
  • Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 6 to 10 pm - Battery Dance Festival. The week-long Battery Park Dance Festival ends tonight with free performances beginning at 6 pm at the Schimmel Theater at 3 Spruce Street between Park Row and Gold Street, only blocks away from City Hall downtown. Free summer dance performances in Manhattan.

 




8. Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights - Summer 2018

Free Summer Theater at Marcus Garvey & Inwood Hill Parks

There's free summer theater at -

Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem

  • Tuesdays thru Sundays, July 7 - July 29, 2018 beginning at 8 pm except Friday - performance begins at 8.30 pm & ends at 9.40 pm [no shows on Monday] - Antigone - by Sophocles. The NYC Parks website bills the play as follows. "Classical Theatre of Harlem's Antigone is an Afropunk inspired work featuring the voice of a defiant woman that challenges patriarchal society. Set in the city of Thebes in a dystopian future, the struggle for power, glory and the claim to the city shatters the bonds of brotherhood, leaving two men lifeless. The new king proclaims one brother a hero and the other a usurper, leaving his limp body lying in the street as an example to those who dare act against the state. The citizens of the city avert their eyes due to fear, turning instead to their new leader who vows to restore order to the war torn city. But when the sister of the slain young brothers protests the edict, she breaks faith with everything she has ever known in order to set things right at any cost." At the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park [enter at 124th St & Fifth Ave and walk south to the venue]. Free.

 

  • Monday & Tuesday, August 6 & 7, 2018 from 6 to 7.30 pm - New York NY Euripides Summer Festival - Suppliants - "Widows and children of war victims go to Eleusis, near Athens, to seek justice and permission to bury their dead heroes." At the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park [enter at 124th St & Fifth Ave and walk south to the venue]. Free summer theater in the Harlem neighborhood of NYC.

Inwood Shakespeare Festival

  • On HIATUS this year 2018? The Inwood Shakespeare Festival did not return in 2017, as the theater group that performed in it [Moose Hall Theatre Company], said they needed a greater commitment from the NYC Parks Department for them to raise funding to support the effort. In 2018 it may be more of the same. We're checking.

Free Things to do in Manhattan 2018

Free Things To Do In Manhattan - Free Theatre On the Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca & Shakespeare in the Park in NYC

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