Several Broadway stars, elected officials, and public figures gathered October 17 to celebrate The Public Theater breaking ground on construction for the revitalized Delacorte Theater. The 61-year-old Central Park venue will undergo renovations for 18 months, and is set to reopen in 2025.
Public Theater Board Chair Luis A. Miranda, Nikki M. James, F. Murray Abraham, Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, Liev Schreiber, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Senator Jose Serrano, Councilmember Gale Brewer, and more gathered for the occasion.
The Public Theater, Central Park Conservancy, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are partnering to improve the home of Free Shakespeare in the Park, including constructing "accessible and comfortable space for audiences and artists with disabilities, streamlined backstage operations and improved comfort for cast and crew, a revitalized exterior for a more dynamic aesthetic experience, a focus on resilience and sustainability, and lighting improvements, among other benefits." Renderings of the revitalized Delacorte are available below.
While the Delacorte undergoes renovations, The Public will offer free outdoor programming in all five boroughs to celebrate Free Shakespeare in the Park's legacy before its return to the Delacorte in 2025. Additional details will be announced at a later date.
Along with breaking ground on the renovation, The Public also announced a $150 million capital campaign to help fund the project. This also includes The Fund for Free Theater, which will primarily support Free Shakespeare in the Park.
“Supporting affordable, accessible cultural programming is a priority for our administration, and thanks to this partnership from the city, New Yorkers will again receive access to a state of the art facility for free and subsidized access at a wide range of cultural organizations,” says New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The historic Delacorte Theater has brought New Yorkers together through the shared love of Shakespeare and the arts, and we're proud of the historic $150 million capital investment from the city to support cultural life in New York City.”
The campaign will also support The Public's other free theatre initiatives, including The Mobile Unit and Public Works, the recently renovated Public Studios, upgrades to The Public's headquarters, and more.
For more information, visit publictheater.org.