The Benton Park West neighborhood of St. Louis will host the inaugural Shakespeare in the Streets April 27 - 29. UMSL's Tlaloc Rivas will direct the production. (Photo by Shakespeare in the Streets)

The streets of St. Louis will be the backdrop for a mini-Shakespeare festival that’s being directed by Tlaloc Rivas, assistant professor of theatre at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The Benton Park West neighborhood will host the inaugural Shakespeare in the Streets April 27 – 29 at the intersection of Cherokee Street and California Avenue. The hour-long play will be performed at 8 p.m. April 27-28 and at 3 p.m. on April 29. All performances are free and open to the public.

The play, “The New World,” is adapted from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The production will be a community effort, with shopkeepers and residents starring in the play alongside professional actors.

Of the cast of 19 actors, only three are professionals. The rest are amateurs, most of whom live in the neighborhood, Rivas said in a recent Suburban Journals article.

“We want the play to reflect the vibrancy of the neighborhood,” Rivas told the Post-Dispatch. “There is so much going on along Cherokee Avenue.”

Two of the cast members also have UMSL connections. April Regester, assistant professor of teaching and learning at UMSL, is taking part in the play along with her 10-year-old daughter Paisley.

“We heard from a couple of sources about the play and thought it would be fun,” Regester told the Suburban Journals.

The event is presented by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and is underwritten by PNC Arts Alive and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez