LawnChair Theatre

Contemporary Shakespeare in Westchester's parks.

would you like to invite us to your town?

LawnChair Theatre is Westchester’s only traveling summer Shakespeare company. We've had 14 summers of Shakespeare and have performed at venues in Port Chester, Rye, Rye Brook, Bedford, Mt. Kisco, New Rochelle, and Chappaqua.  

We operate in affiliation with the Rye Arts Center.  They were founded in 1960 and their mission is “to inspire interest and maximum participation in the arts in Westchester and the surrounding region.”

We feature multi-generational casts that blend professional and amateur performers. As producers and directors, our goal is to contemporize Shakespeare without rewriting him, and to create community through our work and play.  

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

 

When does LawnChair perform?

LawnChair Theatre’s performances take place over two weekends at the end of July.  We do shows Thursday - Sunday. Performances begin at 6:30 and end approximately two hours later, including intermission. We begin in daylight and end at dusk.  

 

What does LawnChair Theatre bring?

We bring actors, a set, costumes, sound equipment (every actor has a wireless microphone so they can be clearly heard outdoors), and a minimal lighting package for twilight time.  It’s all loaded onto a rented truck that gets unloaded and reloaded on the day of the performance.  

We bring refreshments to sell, but don’t have to.  If the venue has its own concession sales, we leave ours home.

 

What does the venue need to provide? 

We need two 30-amp circuits to plug in our equipment.  We need a field big enough for our show and an audience.  We prefer to have a roped-off entrance to the playing area.  Even though our performances are free to audiences, we do solicit donations at the gate.  

In case of inclement weather, we require a designated indoor location, preferably near the outdoor venue.  Experience has taught us that it’s important for the rain venue to have air conditioning. We typically make the decision to go indoors by 1:00 pm on the day of the performance.

 

What does a performance cost?

We ask the municipalities that invite us to pay an appearance fee to cover costs.  If a municipality chooses to pay a larger fee, we will forego asking for suggested donations from the audience.

 

What should audiences bring?

Audiences should bring a blanket or chairs, and are welcome to bring picnic food and snacks.  (We provide bug spray.) 

Although there is no mandatory entrance fee, our suggested contribution is $20 from adults and $10 from students and seniors, unless our host makes other arrangements.

 

Is LawnChair Theatre a registered not-for-profit corporation?  

No, we are incorporated, but have not yet received 501 (c) (3) status. We operate under the auspices of the Rye Arts Center.  The RAC accepts donations and disburses funds on our behalf, and provides insurance certification to the parks and venues where we perform.  

 

Is LawnChair Theatre suitable for kids?

LawnChair is family-friendly entertainment and we like to introduce young people to Shakespeare.  Parents are naturally the best judges of whether their own children can sit through a full-length play.  

 

Where do your actors come from?

Our performers are drawn from Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield Counties, and from NY City. Most are amateurs, although many have professional training and experience.  Our youngest cast members are usually 16, but our shows are truly multi-generational, featuring young adults, grown-ups and seniors.  There are productions in which we feature young children.

Our annual auditions are open to everyone 16 years old and up. 

 

This sounds great.  Who should I contact?

You can email us at peter@lawnchairtheatre.org, or call 914 414-1226.