SHAKESPEARE IM PARK BERLIN was a Berlin-based performance ensemble founded in 2010 by Katrin Beushausen, Alberto Di Gennaro, Maxwell Flaum, Christina Kettering, and Brandon Woolf. The group understood itself to be working in the – or at least a – tradition of Joe Papp’s “public” theater, situating performance in urban space, and playing free of charge to a diverse public. The international ensemble brought Papp’s concept to Berlin, with a different aesthetic and political orientation, a different approach to live performance and to textual (re)production. The original pieces were collaboratively written/devised for particular “public” spaces, which themselves served as both a site of and character in performance. There was no stage, no overnight camping for tickets – no tickets at all. Rather, the performances blurred boundaries between park space and play space, and worked to rethink these dynamic spaces as simultaneous sites of multi-lingual performance, postdramatic (ir)reverence, and participatory art.
After their inaugural 2011 production of Henry IV / Heinrich der Vierte in Berlin’s (in)famous Görlitzer Park, SHAKESPEARE IM PARK BERLIN developed innovative performance projects in a variety of public spaces. More than 5000 brave spectator-participants joined the group for their 2012 summer production, Utopia™ – Where All Is True. In fall 2012, SHAKESPEARE IM PARK BERLIN was invited to develop Upper Echelon, a two-day, site-specific expedition at the former NSA espionage station atop Berlin’s Teufelsberg. In the spring of 2013, the group collaborated with English Theatre Berlin to curate and direct Strength & Health: March, a new performance/installation à la professional “speed”-eating competition. In summer 2013, the group summoned the ghost of Görlitzer Park’s unwitting founding-father, Henry Bethel Strausberg, as the unwitting inspiration for King Bethel, a trilogy of new performances played in repertory and based on the rise and fall of the rail and pickle King. Finally, the group re-adapted their own adaptation of Henry IV as a classic Mercury Theater-style radio play — starring bawdy Falstaff aficionados Orson Welles and Harold Bloom.