Shakespeare in the Park Celebrates 20th Anniversary Shakespeare in the Park Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Reporter Timothy Charvat: Shakespeare in the park debuted in Thornden Park in November 2002. A Midsummer’s Nights Dream was featured in their first year, and is returning this season. Co-founder Ronnie Bell wants to give the audience an authentic Shakespeare experience.

Bell: We have period costumes, we have period sets. Trying to depict it the way he would’ve depicted it. And we try to do it as closely to the way Shakespeare did it.

The production will also be a tribute to costume designer Barbara Toman, who died earlier this year. Known to the staff at “Mama T,” Bell says her contributions will be seen for years to come.

Bell: We’re paying honor to her not only in the fact we dedicated our season to her, but also that we’re using many of the costume’s that she built.
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The show runs from August 5th thought the 7th and 12th through 14th. Admission is free. Timothy Charvat, NCC News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y (NCC News)– Syracuse’s Shakespeare in the Park is celebrating its 20th season. They will be producing A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, a play that was shown during the group’s first year.

Debuting in front of a combined 2,000 people for the first weekend in November 2002, the idea of Shakespeare in the Park had been in place since 1989, when Executive Director and Co-Founder Ronnie Bell first moved to Syracuse.

“In 2002 we had lunch, my wife and I, had lunch with the Holmes, Tom and Mary, at Kitty Hoynes…and we said, ‘Well let’s do Shakespeare in Thornden Park,'” Bell recalled.

From A Midsummer’s Night’s dream to Macbeth, the goal has always been to recreate the original experience of a Shakespeare production. The Thornden Park Amphitheater, an outdoor theater, resembles the venues Shakespeare used for his productions.

This season is also paying tribute to their costume designer, Barbara Toman, who died in March. Toman, who the staff would call Mama T, had been with the production team for the previous 19 years. Bell says Toman’s costume designs resemble costumes that actors wore during Shakespeare’s time.

“She was with us for 19 seasons. She did costumes for every one of our shows. She did them in periods, she built them from scratch, she combined different costumes that she had, when needed. But she always stayed true to whatever vision the director had for that particular show,” says Bell.

The production of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream will take place over the next two weekends, with admission being free. If you would like to support Shakespeare in the Park, there will be a concession stand for food and beverages.

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