Shakespeare in Yosemite

Applied Theatre in a National Park

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 University of California, Merced
  • 2 University of Warwick
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Shakespeare in Yosemite, founded in 2017, consists of an annual outdoor production of Shakespeare in Yosemite National Park on the weekend closest to World Earth Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. The productions are site-specific and heavily adapted for a general audience; admission is free. In this article, the co-founders describe the origins and aims of the festival within the contexts of applied theatre, eco-criticism and the American tradition of free outdoor Shakespeare. In describing the festival’s inaugural show – a collage piece that counterpointed Shakespeare’s words with those of early environmentalist John Muir – we make the case for leveraging Shakespeare’s cultural currency to play a part (however small or unknowable) in encouraging environmental awareness and activism.

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