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Shakespeare in Yosemite - 2017

Shakespeare in Yosemite - Ranger Shelton Johnson

“One touch of nature makes all the world kin."
John Muir, echoing William Shakespeare’s "Troilus and Cressida"

Save the Dates!

April 18-22, 2018

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a Yosemite twist!

Follow #yosemiteshakes for updates.

UC Merced Campus

Wednesday, April 18
6pm – Dutra Wallace Amphitheater

Yosemite National Park

Friday, April 20
2pm – Lower River Amphitheater
5:30 pm – Half Dome Village Amphitheater

Saturday, April 21
2pm – Lower River Amphitheater
5:30 pm – Half Dome Village Amphitheater

Sunday, April 22: Earth Day
2pm – Lower River Amphitheater

Shakespeare in Yosemite 2017


What they said:

"The whole thing was just wonderfully presented (by all the performers), live and outdoors, with such an interesting selection of Muir quotes and related Shakespearean play excerpts. Just great! I was sorry when it was over!"

Survey respondent

"I have never thought about Shakespeare in this way and realized he was so much to say about nature. Now I really want to read more Shakespeare plays!"


UC Merced Yosemite Leadership Program student

"I have a new appreciation for Shakespeare's engagement with nature and a new appreciation with Muir's engagement with Shakespeare. It was also wonderful to experience Shakespeare outdoors, in the very nature that the performance celebrates."

Survey respondent

"That was AWESOME!"

Max, age 10



What they experienced:

An original hour-long play for Earth Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday, featuring Ranger Shelton Johnson, Lee Stetson as John Muir, live music and scenes from Shakespeare. 

Shakespeare in Yosemite - actor and director conferring over script


Performance times and locations:

  • 2 p.m. Lower River Amphitheatre
  • 5:30 p.m. Half Dome Village Amphitheater
  • On April 22nd, the rainy day location is the Yosemite Village Theatre, and on April 23rd, it is the Yosemite Village Auditorium. Both venues are located directly behind the Valley Visitor’s Center in Yosemite Village.


Performance is free and open to the public.

Shakespeare in Yosemite logoFilled with Shakespearean scenes about forests, animals and the environment and featuring live music and the writings of John Muir, “Shakespeare in Yosemite” is an original hour-long play written especially for Earth Day (April 22) and William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23).

The show will be performed on these days at 2 p.m. in the Lower River Amphitheater and at 5:30 p.m. in the Half Dome Village Amphitheater.

Performances are free, interactive and fun for all ages.

In 2016, the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary while the world celebrated the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Inspired by these celebrations, “Shakespeare in the Park” brings to life the imaginative worlds of two of the best nature writers in the English language — Shakespeare and John Muir.

Experiencing Shakespeare in Yosemite is a great American tradition (maybe America’s second best idea?), so join us for Shakespeare in the Park — Yosemite National Park!

“Shakespeare in Yosemite” was written by Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw from UC Merced and Paul Prescott from the University of Warwick, and stars Ranger Shelton Johnson, Lee Stetson as John Muir, and 11 more actors and musicians who will bring Shakespearean characters and songs to life in the heart of Yosemite Valley.

The production is sponsored by UC Merced, the University of Warwick and Misfit Press, in partnership with the National Parks Service and the Yosemite Conservancy.

Download the poster.

Shakespeare in Yosemite: the Company


UC Merced students rehearsing in Yosemite

Special guest stars:

Lee Stetson as John Muir, John Muir Live
Ranger Shelton Johnson as himself, National Parks Service

Shakespearean Troupe:

Luke Bolle
University of the Pacific student

Katherine Brokaw
UC Merced faculty member, Merced Shakespeare fest

TaNayiah Bryels
UC Merced student, Merced Shakespearefest, Playhouse Merced

Emily Fishburn
UC Merced student

Carin J. Heidelbach
Merced College faculty, Merced Shakespearefest, Center Stage Conservatory

UC Merced lecturer

Paul Prescott
University of Warwick faculty member

Rachel Rodrigues
Merced College student, Merced Shakespearefest, Playhouse Merced

Raquel Ruelas
Murphys Creek Theatre, Mountain Youth and Community Theatre

Connie Stetson
Mariposa Theatre Alliance

Musician (lute and guitar):

Soheil Fatehi
UC Merced graduate student

Written, directed and produced by Katherine Brokaw and Paul Prescott

Performance Locations

Yosemite National Park - Lower River Amphitheater Yosemite National Park - Lower River Amphitheater

Both 2 p.m. shows take place in the Lower River Amphitheater. Download the map.

On April 22nd, the rainy day location is the Yosemite Village Theatre, and on April 23rd, it is the Yosemite Village Auditorium. Both venues are located directly behind the Valley Visitor’s Center in Yosemite Village.

From Yosemite Village, you can walk 20 minutes across Majestic Meadow (the meadow with the best view of Half Dome). Turn left after crossing the road and walk toward the flags and lute music!

You can also get off the Yosemite Valley shuttle at stop 12 (Housekeeping Camp) and walk along the river near Housekeeping Camp until you get to a bridge. After crossing the bridge, turn left and follow a short trail to the Lower River Amphitheater, a 5-7 minute walk.

Yosemite National Park - Half Dome Theatre Yosemite National Park - Half Dome Theatre

Both 5:30 shows take place in the Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) Amphitheater.

Get off at shuttle stop 13B and follow the signs to the amphitheater in the middle of the village behind the guest lounge, a very short walk.

In case of rain, the shows will take place in either the Yosemite Theatre or the Yosemite Auditorium, both of which are located directly behind the Valley Visitor Center in Yosemite Village (shuttle stops 4, 5, 9, and 10).

Getting There

General public:

UC Merced students, faculty and staff members:

Information to come.


Please visit the Travel Yosemite website for accommodation information.


UC Merced logo

Warwick University (UK)

National Park Service

Yosemite Conservancy

Misfit Press


For more information, please contact Katie Brokaw.