The Delacorte Theater—the Central Park sister to the Public Theater in the East Village—has been putting on free productions of the Bard’s plays every summer for the past six decades, with a musical adaptation of The Public’s The Tempest closing out the 2023 season next month, running in the 1,800-seat open-air theater for one week only from Sunday, August 27 through Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.
It won’t just be the final production of 2023 for the historic performance space; it will be the Delacorte’s final production for the next two years. That’s because the Public Theater, in partnership with Central Park Conservancy and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, is embarking on a revitalization project of the 61-year-old theater, beginning in the fall of 2023 and reportedly culminating in time for the 2025 summer season.
The project—which is estimated to cost $77 million, with $41 million contributed by the offices of the mayor, City Council and Manhattan borough president, another $1 million from the state budget and the remainder privately funded—was first announced back in December 2021 but the renovation faced pandemic-related delays. Proposed plans would benefit both the performers and the patrons: increased access for people living with disabilities, new audience seating, improved lighting, modernized back-of-house operations, among others.
“Now, it is time for us to ensure that our beloved Delacorte will continue to be a home for artists and audiences for generations to come. This 18-month renovation will create a Delacorte that is more accessible, more sustainable, more able to create extraordinary theater, and more a palace for the people of this city than ever before,” said artistic director Oskar Eustis and executive director Patrick Willingham in a statement.
“When we gather together in summer 2025, it will be at the magnificent, refreshed Delacorte Theater built by and for the people of New York, to be treasured as our shared home for Free Shakespeare in the Park for generations to come. We look forward to sharing it with you all.”
Check out renderings for the proposed new Delacorte Theater space below: