Free the Bard!

Grassroots movement keeps Shakespeare in the Park alive in Henderson, gratis

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park

Do we have a Shakespeare in the Park here?

In an era when Shakespeare companies in presumably “more cultured” cities such as Santa Cruz are struggling (that California town’s respected 32-year-old troupe appears finished after this season), our own “Picnic Blankets and the Bard” tradition lives on as a grassroots phenomenon.

Created by the Arts Council of Henderson in 1986 (when the Valley’s cultural heart beat primarily in Green Valley), Shakespeare in the Park enjoyed an incredibly successful 15-year run at Foxridge Park. Tempted by a fancy new facility, the event relocated to the Henderson Pavilion in 2002. Whether it was the cost of the (previously free) tickets, the formal seating in the lower tier of the Pavilion, the sound problems, the prohibition of outside food or the simple fact that Shakespeare in the Park was no longer in a park, attendance dropped.

Thankfully for its fans, Shakespeare in the Park successfully regrouped by embracing its populist roots. Most importantly, the plays returned to actual parks: In recent years, they’ve been staged at Henderson’s Discovery Park, at Lake Las Vegas’ amphitheater, at Hills Park in Summerlin and even at Downtown’s Clark County Amphitheater.

Also, instead of hiring theater companies from outside the state, organizers went local and paired up with the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. For its 27th installment, The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare in the Park comes to Henderson’s River Mountain Park (Oct. 5), Discovery Park (Oct. 12) and Lake Las Vegas (Oct. 19)—all at 7 p.m., and all for free. For more information, check or

Where is Summerlin, officially?

Part of the City of Las Vegas, Summerlin is roughly bounded by Cheyenne Avenue on the north, Rampart Boulevard on the east (until you get to Alta Drive, then it moves farther west to Hualapai Way), the 6000 block of Hualapai on the south (at Bishop Gorman High School) and the Spring Mountains to the west. Plenty of shopping centers claim Summerlin residency (Boca Park, Village Square), when more accurately, they serve the neighborhood without being in it.