Shakespeare In Delaware Park and it’s Founder Saul Elkin Improving With Age

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – It is the nation’s second largest Shakespeare festival and continues improving with age, just like it’s founder Saul Elkin. Saul was encouraged to start this annual event in 1976 by his friend and teacher Joseph Papp. Papp was the founder of New York City’s Shakespeare in Central Park.

The annual outdoor Summer theatre event has evolved into a crowd pleaser for people of all ages. Saul describes it this way “this is a wonderful community picnic at which a play happens to be going on” .

Saul is appearing in this season’s first production, Romeo & Juliet-and at age 83 he says it’s a little tougher but “it’s really my heart, what I love to do”

There is a capital campaign underway to fund a new stage by next season. Saul Elkin is responsible for Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s past, still a player in the present and making big plans to insure it’s future.

More info about this season at their website, click here.

Shakespeare turns 40 at Delaware Park

WBEN 930am

New stage is set for Shakespeare in Delaware Park

New stage is set for Shakespeare in Delaware Park
By Chris Caya, WBFO 88.7 • 4 hours ago

Some much needed improvements are in store for Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

Plans include replacing the 20 year old stage with modular pieces that can fit into three different configurations. Saul Elkin, SDP Founder and Artistic Director said, the new system will enhance the public’s experience and provide more accessible productions.
A model of one of the three new stage configurations for Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
A model of one of the three new stage configurations for Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

“The light towers, which now stand in the way of the best sight lines, are being moved to the right and the left and up the hill. It’s going to open up. The hill is going to become a bowl, which is what we always hoped for,” Elkin said.

The $1.3 million project includes new sound and lighting systems and expanded dressing rooms, concessions and prop storage. Elkin says the current stage is barely hanging together

The Chair of the Capital Campaign, Deborah Di Matteo, says about three-quarter of the goal has already been met. She says the plan includes establishing an endowment.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is the second oldest, and one of the largest, Shakespeare festivals in the country.


Click here to listen to the segment.

“Romeo and Juliet” full of both romance and action


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – One of the greatest love stories of all time will soon be back on stage in Delaware Park. This season marks Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s 40th anniversary, and the company is bringing back a classic production to celebrate.

The stage is set for the premiere of Romeo and Juliet on Thursday evening.

“We’re still one of the largest free outdoor Shakespeare festivals in the country,” Managing Director Lisa Ludwig told News 4. “We get about 40,000 people every summer. To look out on that hill and see thousands of people when the sun is going down, there’s nothing like it in theater.”

Romeo and Juliet has many romantic moments, but audiences are also in store for an action-packed theater experience. The actors spent a bulk of their rehearsal time on stage the play’s combat scenes.

“For every minute of this, you want an hour of rehearsal time,” explained Jonas Barranca, who plays Romeo.

The show runs through July 12th. Performances are free and begin at 7:30pm. There are no shows on Mondays.

How to Make the Most of an Evening at Shakespeare in Delaware Park

By Marisa Caruso Culture & Arts, Theater, Things to do June 15, 2015

Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Buffalo NY, Step Out Buffalo


Photo by Christopher Scinta

Open air concerts, patio seating, group bike rides… in case you haven’t noticed, it’s summer in Buffalo, and with the deluge of outdoor events that begin to fill up your weekend schedule comes the annual tradition of outdoor theater in the form of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. Celebrating 40 years of iambic pentameter in the park this summer, SDP is presenting the classic love story of Romeo and Juliet and the hilarious cross-dressing comedy Twelfth Night to its Buffalo audiences. Thousands of people from Buffalo and beyond enjoy free Shakespeare every year, but for those who haven’t joined in the fun up ‘til now, here are some tips about how to make the most of your trip to the park!

Firstly, the Bard. The Swan of Avon. Billy Shakes. You can say the guy’s name, but Shakespeare and his words might seem daunting if all you know are the plays you read and didn’t understand in high school. But that’s high school, and reading a play in a classroom is completely different from a live performance. Take sword fighting, for instance. When the Capulets and Montagues meet in the streets of Verona in the first scene of Romeo and Juliet, all you read is a bunch of “I bite my thumb at you”’s, followed by the italicized stage direction They fight. When you watch that scene played out, it’s tense stare-downs, chest-thumping threats and then- the swords come out! How often do you get to see people fight with swords? Never, I think is the answer, and still only very rarely if you’re a samurai. SO, tip #1, read the synopsis of the play, get the main characters names in your brain and maybe even look at the most famous quotes of the play (there are a ton in every single play), and then sit back and enjoy the show! You don’t have to understand every word, it will all make total sense when a professional actor as opposed to your 10th grade English teacher is reciting the work.
Next: BYOS- Bring your own seating! Unlike a regular theater performance, park shows do not provide seats, only a lovely hill on which to perch. If you aren’t fond of dewy shorts and the probability of bugs crawling about your person, bring that old blanket you use for picnics, or that beach chair you use for watching your landlord mow the lawn. Anything you use will help you keep comfortable and enjoying the show, rather than brushing ants off your knees, and it will also help you claim your hill spot if you have to leave it for a bathroom break.


Then, while sitting on your picnic blanket and thinking about how wonderful that wine was that spilled and left that red stain in the corner last summer, bring out the libations for a complete poetic evening. Picnicking and enjoying the beverage of your choice is highly encouraged at this event, and yes that means open container laws bend for the Bard. Snacks, beer, even complete meals are enjoyed on the hill every year to the tune of “If music be the food of love, play on!”

Next, remember that while the sun is shining during the day and baking us to a perfect 80 degrees, this is still Buffalo and the temperature can drop 30 degrees within 30 minutes of sundown. Keep sweatshirts, sweatpants, extra blankets or scarves on hand for when the sun dips below the horizon right around intermission. It’s not unlikely to sweat for the prologue and goosepimple for the epilogue. And you may as well add to your preparation for the elements sunscreen and bugspray. Think of your visit to Shakespeare in Delaware Park as a short camping trip with extra swashbuckling and couplets.
Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Buffalo NY, Step Out Buffalo


Now both shows run Tuesday through Sunday for four weeks each, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to make a memorable night (or several memorable nights) of this fabulous event. Try going on a busy Friday night when as many as 800 people pile together for a good view and park passersby wander in and out; or check out a quieter Wednesday evening to relax and break up the week. It’s a cheap and unique date (especially Romeo and Juliet), a family friendly show, and it might just end up being the highlight of your season! So perhaps most importantly, bring friends to share the experience with. And second most importantly, bring a little cash to donate to the company (they’ll visit your picnic blanket at intermission, don’t you worry) so that Shakespeare in Delaware Park can continue providing quality classic theatre for another 40 years!

For more information on Shakespeare in Delaware Park, visit or follow Shakespeare in Delaware Park on Instagram and Facebook.


Essential Information:

Performances run Tuesday-Sunday, curtain at 7:30pm every night, no matinees

Romeo and Juliet

Dates: 6/18/15 – 7/12/15

Directed by Tom Loughlin

Starring Jonas Barranca and Kathleen Denecke

Free Admission


Twelfth Night

Dates: 7/23/15 – 8/16/15

Directed by Steve Vaughan

Starring Tim Newell, Jordan Louis Fischer, Norman Sham and Greg Gjurich

Free Admission

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