Shakespeare Returns to Mingus Park

Now in its 9th year of presenting free Shakespeare plays, Coos Bay Shakespeare in the Park will present Julius Caesar two consecutive weekends this summer, June 22-23 and June 29-30, with a green show starting at 2:30 p.m. and the play beginning at 3 p.m. in Mingus Park, 725 N 10th Street, Coos Bay. 

Following in the Elizabethan tradition, a “green show” will take place before the play itself, featuring the Side of the Tide Morris Dancers.

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, revolutionaries are concerned that Caesar poses a threat to democracy and decide to take the violent decision to murder him. As the world spins out of control, chaos and superstition lead to civil war. The play is regarded as Shakespeare’s commentary on politics, ambition, and the power of rhetoric.

The venue is outdoors and is lawn seating, so audience members should bring their own chairs or blankets and dress appropriately for the weather. There is no charge but donations are gratefully accepted to help cover costs of scenery, costumes, etc. The actors, director, and all those who are involved in the productions are volunteers. The actors come from the community, people from all different walks of life, including experienced actors and those new to the craft. They represent a wide range of ages and come from several of the local Coos Bay/North Bend theater groups.

A scene from the Coos Bay Shakespeare in the Park’s performance of Macbeth in 2022.

“Part of our mission statement is to be able to give opportunities for those interested in Shakespeare and to make inclusive theater available for our community, especially those who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend the theater,” said Kristin Hovenkotter Greco, president of the volunteer board of directors.

Previous Coos Bay Shakespeare in the Park productions have included Henry V, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, a live streamed production of King Lear, The Tempest, Macbeth, and, Much Ado About Nothing. Most of these productions can be viewed on their YouTube channel.

In addition to bringing members of the various local theater groups together in this effort, the group has developed a partnership with Southwestern Oregon Community College, which sponsors the group by providing indoor rehearsal space, community education classes about Shakespeare, a theater production class, and SWOCC staff and students are involved in the plays.

Coos Bay Shakespeare in the Park is a 501(c)3 non-profit. In addition to individual donations, a number of area businesses and grants support their work.  This year’s sponsors include  the Coos Cultural Coalition, the City of Coos Bay Public Works and Community Development Department, Banner Bank, 7 Devils Brewing Co., Roto Rooter, Bigfoot Beverages, and Little Caesars.

Press release and photos provided by Shakespeare in the Park, May 2024.