The Public Theater renewed its Mobile Shakespeare Unit this summer, this time bringing their production of Richard III to community centers, army bases, homes for the elderly and prisons across the metropolitan area. This is the second year of the MSU program, an extension of the company's founding mission to "bring Shakespeare to those who are excluded from the world of theater and culture,” according to Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Reviving The Mobile Shakespeare Unit is a vital part of continuing that great mission, to ensure that we are one nation, not a land divided into those who have access and those who don’t. Culture is a birthright, not a commodity.”
Shakespeare's tale of the deformed Richard III's bloody rise to power toured for three weeks, with stops at Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn, Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults in Queens and other neighborhood institutions, as well as various prisons, including Rikers Island. After seeing the show at Rikers, inmate Ramon Lopez, who was arrested last year for kiting checks, asked the Times, "Do you get to see this on the outside? Because I’d recommend it to anyone."
The production then moved back to its home at The Public Theater for a three-week run, which concludes August 25th. For community centers unable to host the company at their own venue, 20 free tickets to each performance will be reserved. For the rest of us, $15 General Admission tickets can be obtained right here.