Hilo Community Players

Shakespeare in the Park: More Than 40 Years of Tradition

Our History

Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare in the Park began in 1978 as an idea of Jackie Pualani Johnson. This year marks our 44th year presenting Shakespeare in the Park in Hilo.

In 2014, we added a tradition of youth programming to our festival, affectionately referred to as “kid-shakes.”

This summer we will open both Romeo & Juliet and The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet at Hilo’s Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium Parking Lot! We hope to see you there!


THE MOST EXCELLENT AND LAMENTABLE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO & JULIET, Hilo Community Players’ 44th annual Shakespeare in the Park, opens on July 9 in the parking lot of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Shakespeare’s genre-twisting crowd-pleaser  — half bawdy romantic comedy, half crushing romantic tragedy– tells a story not of kings or courts but of an entire town, from rich merchants to lovesick teenagers to domestic servants to bored aristocrats, caught in a passionate spiral of love and hate.
Like 2020’s production of OTHELLO, ROMEO & JULIET this year will be presented in compliance with Covid guidelines, as the Players appear on a raised stage before an audience watching from the distanced safety of their cars– even tuning into the show’s sound via a short-range radio transmission. “For our second year at the Civic we wanted to do everything we could to fill that huge space,” said the production’s director, veteran HCP Shakespeare actor Theon Weber. “I don’t think a Shakespeare play exists that’s more widely beloved, and we’re staging it at a scale that can reach every car in the parking lot.” To this end, the actors will be joined onstage by a troupe of dancers choreographed by Paradise Performing Arts Center director Nadia Schlosser. “The play isn’t only a story– it builds a whole miniature town, a miniature world,” Weber said. “Our dancers, melting in and out of character and manipulating the actors around them– they help populate that world, but they also play the forces that are tearing it apart.”
Though the stage may have moved and the sound been amplified, one Shakespeare in the Park tradition remains inviolable– free admission for all. With the County of Hawaii’s invaluable help and despite a second year of pandemic disruption, HCP’s flagship event continues to do what it’s done for over four decades– provide a safe, free, open environment for audiences of all ages to discover the strange and bottomless world of Shakespeare’s work.
The show will run July 9 to 11, 15 to 18, and 22 to 25, beginning each night at 7:30pm. As always, Shakespeare in the Park is completely FREE for our community. Donations are appreciated.

Past Shakespeare in the Park Festivals


A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Directed by Jackie Debus Johnson


The Tempest - Directed by Jackie Debus Johnson


The Taming of the Shrew - Directed by Helie Rock


As You Like It - Directed by Peter Franklin Schickler


Hamlet - Directed by Peter Franklin Schickler


Romeo & Juliet - Directed by Julian Canuso


The Comedy of Errors - Directed by Don Moody


Othello - Directed by John Koch


Twelfth Night - Directed by Peter Charlot


Julius Caesar - Directed by Paul Mark Clark


The Merry Wives of Windsor - Directed by Margaret Harshberger


Antony & Cleopatra - Directed by Pru Sillito


The Merchant of Venice - Directed by Julian Canuso


The Tragedy of Richard II - Directed by Don Moody


King Henry IV-Part 1 - Directed by Paul Mark Clark


King Henry IV-Part 2 - Directed by Beth Kucharczyk


King Henry V - Directed by Robin Hilliard


Two Gentlemen of Verona - Directed by Laura Andres


The Tragedy of Richard III - Directed by Jackie Seaquist


Measure for Measure - Directed by Don Moody


Macbeth - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson


The Winter's Tale - Directed by Cathy Punch


Titus Andronicu - Directed by Catherine McPherson & Sharon Furstenworth


King Lear - Directed by Paul Mark Clark


One Uddah Mid'Summah - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson


Much Ado About Nothing - Directed by Justina Mattos


Romeo & Juliet - Directed by Cathy Punch


Twelfth Night - Directed by Laura Andres


The Tempest - Directed by Randy Raphael


The Best of the Bard - Multiple Directors


Hamlet - Directed by Laura Andres


The Taming of the Shrew - Directed by Randy Raphael


Love's Labour Lost - Directed by Amy Jackson


The Merchant of Venice - Directed by Catherine McPherson


Richard III - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson


As You Like It - Directed by Laura Caswell


Antony & Cleopatra - Directed by Jake McPherson & Dr. Justina T. Mattos

This is Hamlet written by Tim Brownell - Directed by Jackie Pualani Johnson


Measure for Measure - Directed by Rob Hunt

I Hate Shakespeare written by Steph DeFerie - Directed by Alston Albarado


A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Directed by Justine Thompson

Romeo To Go written by Jonathan Rand - Directed by Leah Wilson


The Best of the Bard Too - Multiple Directors

MmmBeth written by Allison Williams - Directed by Mimi Tincher


The Merry Wives of Windsor - Directed by Catherine McPherson-Tampos




Lions In Ilyria written by Robert Kauzlaric - Directed by Alston Albarado


Hamlet - Directed by Catherine Williams





Hamajang Hamlet, written by Jackie Pualani Johnson - Directed by Angie Nakamura


Othello (Shakespeare in the Park...ing Lot) - Directed by Sarah Elliott

Oh, Hello! (Virtual Production) written by Dr. Justina T. Mattos - Directed by Alston Albarado


The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of ROMEO & JULIET - Directed by Theon Weber


The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet - Directed by James Pono O'Connor

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