About Oak Park Festival Theatre

About us

Now in its 41st season, Oak Park Festival Theatre is the midwest’s oldest professional (Actors’ Equity Association) classical outdoor theater. Or summer productions of Shakespeare and other theatre masters are stages in idyllic Austin Gardens in the heart of downtown Oak Park. Festival Theatre was founded in 1975 by Oak Park resident Marion Karczmar. A line of distinguished subsequent artistic directors has remained true to the mission of the theater with popular productions of the greatest works in the Bard’s language. The year 2013 marks the 39th consecutive year of classic productions in Oak Park, an unmatched accomplishment in the Chicago area, and our seventh year of expanded programming.

Our Mission

Oak Park Festival Theatre celebrates Oak Park’s historic, multicultural community through exceptional theatrical productions.

Rooted in Shakespeare, our commitment to producing timeless texts cultivates a shared cultural language that reveals our common humanity.  We create space for dialogue, understanding and curiosity.

By serving as a vital artistic resource for the Oak Park community, Festival Theatre endeavors to continue setting the standard for cultural and literary excellence in the Midwest.

We enjoy making theatre accessible to children, students and families through school and community workshops and performances. Our popular Family Days allow kids and grownups to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in which theatre and the classics are brought to life. Family Days have pre-show activities, plus an early performance at 6pm. Dancing and stage combat workshops, storytelling, tours of the set and backstage, plus simple explanations of the show. They change every year, and Family Days are always fun.