Outdoor theatre is a wonderfully delightful and inspiring experience. With a little bit of planning it only gets better.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: How much does it cost to attend performances?
A: All of our productions are “Pay What You Will.” Meaning, it’s really your choice. Our priority is to keep quality outdoor theatre alive and well for ALL of our vibrant community. We will tell you it costs the company $10.24 per audience member at each performance, so we do rely on the generosity of the community to keep up the good work. Think of it this way: What would you pay for a movie ticket? How about a concert? How about a Broadway Show? But despite what you have to pay, please come anyway. Read more here >>
Q: What should I bring with me to one of your performances?
A: That’s really up to you. Some choose to bring a blanket others prefer chairs. There are sections for either. You can bring a picnic or just some snacks or a beverage of your choosing. And don’t forget whatever you can spare to put in the basket at intermission.
Q: What is the proper etiquette for outdoor theatre?
A: Although we encourage families to come and enjoy the show, we do ask that parents keep their children from running free and unsupervised. Remember, the actors can see you as easily as you see can them, and such distractions do a grave disservice both to them and other audience members. Along those lines, we also ask that you refrain from the taking of pictures and the use of recording equipment during the performance. Please make sure that cellular phones and beepers are off. Also if you do arrive late, or have to leave early, be considerate of your fellow audience members, and do so as quietly as possible.
Q: Can I take pictures and videos?
A: Video of a performance is not permitted under any circumstance unless prior written authorization is granted by our office and must be presented to the House Manager at that performance. Flash photography is not permitted during the performances. The flash will not be effective with the distance to the stage, and is distruptive to actors and fellow patrons.
Q: Is Schiller Park “buggy”?
A: It’s Columbus in the summer, what do you think? The grass is kept well-manicured but there is a lot of it and there is a pond nearby. Blessedly though, there is insect repellant available at every store within a 100 mile radius.
Q: Is there on-site childcare?
A: If by childcare you mean a playground, lots of grass to run in, geese to feed and the beautiful outdoors, then yes. If you mean a staffed area where you can drop young ones and watch the play in peace, then no. We have found, however, that children can amaze you when they’re introduced to live theater. It opens their minds and calms their spirits. We suggest bringing them along, but be sure to bring other activities or a pillow. Best case scenario you instill a life-long love of theater in your child, one that will engage and inspire them.
Q: Can I bring my pets?
A: We always welcome well behaved pets. Please keep in mind that there may be loud noises such as gunfire or shouting during the performance.
Q: I would love to be in one of these shows, when are auditions?
A: So, you want to be star, eh? We hold out auditions in late winter for the entire season. Check back here at our website for more information.
Q: I find I’m just too lazy to pack a picnic dinner. What are some other choices nearby for a pre or post show dinner?
A: German Village is home to some of the best dining in the city. There are as many choices as you have taste buds. Eat there or get take out and bring it to the park. Here is a list of German Village Restaurants >>
About Schiller Park
The park, home to the Actors’ Theatre’s summer season has long been a focal point for the German Village Community. Originally called Stewert’s Grove by the early settlers, the city bought these 23.5 acres in 1867 for the grand sum of $15,000. Stewert’s Grove became City Park in 1891 and then renamed Schiller park, after the famous German poet, Friedrich Von Schiller. An impressive statue of Schiller resides in the park. During World War I, the American sentiment had turned against all things German and Schiller Park was renamed Washington Park. Several of the German Street names in the area also were changed. After the war, the park’s name was changed back to Schiller, although most of the streets did not revert to their pre-war names. (German Village Society, 1992)
The park is now a well kept central location of German Village life. The recreation center, picnic areas, tennis courts, fishing pond, and stage for Actors’ Theater – not to mention the beautifully landscaped gardens – make Schiller park the jewel of German Village.
Parking is available in the Schiller Recreation Center paved parking lot and on city streets surrounding the park. Parking in the grass may cause Columbus Parks and Recreation to have your vehicle ticketed and towed without warning.There is no seating provided for the productions. Chairs are allowed behind the traversing walkway, while blanket seating is de riguer in front of the stage.
Restrooms are available in the Recreation Center (hours are from 7:15pm until after intermission). Refreshments are available at the concession stand, though you are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the performance al fresco.
The summer performances are under the stars (dress accordingly), and occasionally, under adverse weather conditions. The decision to cancel a performance is not made until 7:30pm. Performances may be cancelled at any time during the show due to heavy rain, lightning, or other reasons beyond our control. In case of adverse weather conditions during the performance, a “hold” may be put in place until the conditions improve. A hold usually indicates that we believe the problem will resolve within a short period of time. If a performance is cancelled between 7:30pm and 8:00pm, a message will appear on our Home page, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
About Columbus Commons, Downtown Columbus
Columbus Commons is a 9-acre park and green space in downtown Columbus, Ohio located on the site of the former Columbus City Center mall. The park features gardens, a performance stage, carousel, reading room, and a cafe. With the decline of Columbus City Center, plans were announced in February 2009 to replace the mall with a project that includes an urban park, homes, offices, restaurants, and shops. In April 2009, Capitol South requested federal stimulus funds to help finance the demolition of the mall and construction of the park, but was rejected. Financing eventually came in the form of Columbus City Council allowing Capitol South to refinance existing City Center parking garage loans and use funds earmarked for downtown housing. CDDC, Capitol South, the Franklin County Commissioners and Columbus Metro Parks, funded the creation of Columbus Commons with a goal to redevelop this downtown property. The first phase of the project cost a total of $20 million. Demolition of City Center began in September 2009 and construction of the Columbus Commons began in mid-2010. The design team was made up of construction manager Corna-Kokosing, architects Moody Nolan and landscape architects EDGE Group. The park opened to the public on Memorial Day weekend 2011.
Metered-parking is available on street and at any of the many surrounding parking garages. There is no seating provided for the productions. Chairs are allowed further back on the green, while blanket seating is de riguer in front of the stage. Restrooms are available at the Rich Street concession area. Refreshments are available at the concession stand, though you are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the performance al fresco.
The summer performances are under the stars (dress accordingly), and occasionally, under adverse weather conditions. The decision to cancel a performance is not made until 7:30pm. Performances may be cancelled at any time during the show due to heavy rain, lightning or other reasons beyond our control. In case of adverse weather conditions during the performance, a “hold” may be put in place until the conditions improve. A hold usually indicates that we believe the problem will resolve within a short period of time.
If a performance is cancelled between 7:30pm and 8:00pm, a message will appear on our Home page, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Planning a Family Outing to Actors’ Theatre
- By Janine Dunmyre, avid outdoor theatre-goer and mother of 4
The first time I took the kids, I had zero expectations. The play was Much Ado About Nothing, and we sat off to the side, hoping to make it through twenty minutes. Attempting to actively engage them in the performance, I instructed them to check out the costumes. When I figured they were ready to leave, they hissed at me, “We know what’s happening, everybody is trying to marry everybody! We can’t leave yet!” And low and behold, we had made it through the whole first act.
This is how I do it, in four easy steps:
1) I get on Wikipedia that day and study the plot summary and I pack up dinner with lots of their favorite snacks. Imagine everything you want to sneak into a movie theater: hummus and pita, pistachio nuts, cranberries, Sun Chips, Juice Boxes, and maybe a few Kit Kats (a few for them, a few for me). Also some cheese sandwiches and plenty of water are a necessity for my family at any picnic.
2) Right before we leave, I stand in front of a dry erase board (which is squarely in front of the TV) and write out the characters’ names and tell them what’s going to happen. I read off a few of the most famous lines. I even tell them how it ends.
3) We get there early, sometimes by 6:15 PM. Schiller Park is so beautiful, no one minds the hike in from the street. Besides, early gets a great spot! We spread out our blanket and our food packs and head to the playground. We meet tons of kids and dogs, and I let them play good and hard for an hour or so. This is very important because in a little while, I’m going to want them to focus.
4) And then the magic happens. The sun is no longer beating on our blanket. The lawn has filled up. The sound check is over. While it’s terrific to read Shakespeare, nothing beats seeing it live. So much of The Bard is in the body and slapstick. My kids have been going since they were five and they’ve seen more Shakespeare than I ever saw before I started going with them, and I was an English major!