Chicago Shakespeare Theater

It may be amusing to think that Chicago Shakespeare Theater had its start in a pub. In 1986, the company was called the Chicago Shakespeare Workshop when it was founded by Barbara Gaines. A year later, the name was changed to the Chicago Shakespeare Repertory. It kept the name until 1999 when it was changed to Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

During this early period, the company played out of the Ruth Page Theater where it gained early recognition for their productions of popular plays such as Hamlet or King Lear as well as more obscure titles including Troilus and Cressida and Timon of Athens. Many critics recognized the talent and passion of the company for these timeless classics but remarked how the age and small space available at Ruth Page Theater limited their potential. So it was at this time that the company searched for new space.

That opportunity came in 1997 when CST announced their plans to move to their new location at Navy Pier, which was known for family attractions and as a popular tourist attraction in the American Midwest. The move was met with a PR frenzy that included then-Mayor Richard M. Daley naming April 23, 1997, Shakespeare Repertory Day. The company used this good PR to start a campaign to pay for the move, finally succeeding for the 1999-2000 season when they opened in their new state-of-the-art facility. This new facility features a main 500 seat space called the Courtyard and the 200 seat Theater Upstairs. In 2017, these facilities were further expanded creating a three-theater campus that adds to The Yard, a flexible customizable space that can go from 150 seats to 850 seats for proscenium and in-the-round stages respectively. When it comes to high production values and incredible set design, Chicago Shakespeare Theater can’t be matched.

CST has made their mark on the world of theater to the point of earning 77 Joseph Jefferson Awards, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and a recent Regional Theater Tony Award in 2008. It has grown to become the third-largest theater company in Chicago, expanding at a rate that’s 400% faster than the industry trend. It produces work that is enjoyed by over 225,000 audience members annually with 1 in 4 of those audience members under the age of 18. It is considered Chicago’s leading presenter of international work and tours their productions across five continents. It offers art in a literacy program to support English and Drama teachers which includes a free tour of Shakespeare’s work every summer in neighborhood parks across Chicago.

CST seeks to promote its core values of Theatricality, creativity, global expression, and innovation and it’s more than clear that they keep these values close to heart with every production.

See the links below for further information on the Chicago Shakespeare Theater:

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Parking:
Latest parking information and rules at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Ticket Policies:
Latest ticket guarantee and authenticity policies.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Seating Chart:
Chicago Shakespeare Theater seating chart and related seating information.