100 artists and cultural organizations team up with the Park District to feature over 2,000 hours of safe, high quality, cultural programming in 250 Chicago neighborhood parks citywide, starting June 2; Movies in the Parks launches June 13.
The Chicago Park District, along with local arts organizations, performers and community members, is thrilled to announce the 11th season of Night Out in the Parks! Night Out in the Parks, the free event series accessible to all ages and abilities, celebrates Chicago’s vibrant cultures and emerging and seasoned arts professionals in parks citywide, starting June 2. All events are available to view at www.nightoutintheparks.com and on the Night Out mobile application My Chi Parks™.
Launched in the summer of 2013, Night Out in the Parks brings world-class arts performances, including theater, dance and live music to neighborhood parks across the city providing residents with access to world-class cultural opportunities. Park neighborhood activations foster a long-time appreciation for the arts and parks among diverse audiences, and continue to create safe spaces for entertainment and educational experiences to thrive throughout the year. Since its inception, Night Out in the Parks has provided thousands of hours of safe, diverse, and unique arts programming with $750,000 in yearly grant support from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
“Every year Chicagoans look forward to our signature Night Out in the Parks program and the Chicago Park District is proud to carry on the tradition of delivering quality entertainment to all Chicago neighborhoods,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “We are excited to bring these enriching cultural programming to our communities all season long and urge residents take advantage of the rich and diverse Night Out opportunities happening in our parks!”
This year, the 11th annual Night Out in the Parks edition will bring over 700 cultural events to each of the city's 77 community areas. 100 Chicago-based artists will be involved as part of the family-friendly park event series in 250 parks citywide. Nearly all events are offered with free admission.
This year’s events and performances by new and returning partners include:
Movies in the Parks
June 13 – September 9, multiple dates and park locations
The Chicago Park District's signature summer movie program, Movies in the Parks, returns to parks across the city beginning June 13 with Some Like It Hot at Belmont Harbor. Screenings continue Tuesdays-Saturdays in 115 parks citywide through September 9. This year's 160 screenings will feature 95 different films, including something for everyone from children and young families to fans of classic cinema, cult classic adventure comedies and local film lovers. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/movies. Movies in the Parks is supported by Sanpellegrino®.
Chicago Onscreen Local Film Showcase
August 28 – September 2, multiple dates and park locations
Chicago Onscreen, the Chicago Park District's annual celebration of Chicago-made film and local filmmakers, will take over the parks from August 28-September 2 for its 10th Anniversary Year - Onscreen/X - with screenings of 2023's 15 Official Selections and highlights from the first 10 years. A week of screenings at Promontory Point, Lincoln Park, Palmer Park, Washington Park, Willye White Park, Wicker Park and Blackhawk Park will culminate in a 2-night multi-screen Chicago film festival featuring Chicago Onscreen Official Selections and lineups curated by other Chicago film festivals and organizations at Douglass Park on September 1 and September 2. For more information on 2023's Official Selections, and a screening schedule, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/onscreen.
Highlights: Night Out in the Parks Partners
Muntu Dance Theatre “DanceAfrica Chicago”
July 20 from 6-7 p.m. at Winnemac Park
July 27 from 6-7 p.m. Austin Town Hall Park
August 3 from 6-7 p.m. Avalon Park
Muntu Dance Theatre's DanceAfrica Chicago (DAC) is an arts festival dedicated to presenting, promoting and celebrating with the community the versatility and cultural vitality of African diasporic art through dance, music, workshops, marketplaces and performances. "DanceAfrica Chicago Lineage in the Parks" is a project developed to create free access points throughout the city to introduce and build a diverse audience of community members who appreciate traditional and contemporary African diasporic art.
Chicago SummerDance in the Parks
July 26 – August 23, multiple dates and park locations
Chicago SummerDance in the Parks is a social dance party bringing people of all abilities and ages together for free dance lessons followed by live music and DJs. Many styles of dance are explored throughout this series, and each neighborhood program includes creative activities with local artists. Produced in collaboration with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
M.A.D.D. Rhythms “A M.A.D.D. Mixtape”
July 14 from 6-8 p.m. at West Pullman Park
August 11 from 6-8 p.m. at Homan Square Park
M.A.D.D. Rhythms (Making A Difference Dancing Rhythms Organization) is a phenomenal tap dance collective whose ‘sole’ purpose is to spread the love and joy of the dance genre of tap worldwide. Donnetta Jackson will create, choreograph, produce and perform in a full-length, staged work titled "A M.A.D.D Mixtape.” This show will be the perfect example of African Diasporic lineage and the rhythmic connections of Tap and Footwork. Combining the two dance forms into one presentation is the perfect way to show the inspiration of one on the other and vice versa. The show will transport the party from the club to the stage and bring the audience along for the choreographic ride. Some of Hip-hop & R&B's most treasured gems will provide the musical backdrop as a live DJ spins on stage.
Dance in the Parks
July 10- July 28, multiple dates and park locations
Celebrating 15 seasons, Dance in the Parks brings free, professional, outdoor dance concerts to 10 neighborhood parks. The all-ages performances feature works created and performed by professional Chicago dance artists in a wide range of themes and styles, including modern, jazz, contemporary, and tap works. In its 15th season, the showcase gives local youth companies an opportunity to perform across the city. Bring your picnic dinner and enjoy the show!
Chicago Blues Revival
July 27 – September 9, multiple dates and park locations
Come see top Chicago Blues artists in your own backyard! These free, all-ages shows bring some of Chicago’s greatest blues musicians to a park near you. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy Chicago Blues Revival!
Nejla Yatkin “Firebird”
June 7 – July 8, multiple dates and park locations
Be surprised by Firebird - pop up dance events by choreographer Nejla Yatkin accompanied by musician Patrick Wojtak! Throughout the month of June and July, Nejla Yatkin will surprise park visitors popping up as Firebird/Phoenix in different Chicago parks to celebrate the return of summer and call in the transformational energy of the sun.
Aloft Circus Arts “Brave Space”
June 27 – June 30, multiple dates and park locations
In Aloft's "Brave Space", a puddle of fabric grows to envelope the audience in a world of wondrous circus performed under a blanket fort as we build the world we want to live in, even for only a few shared moments.
30 chances to see Shakespeare works this summer
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
July 27 - August 5, multiple dates and park locations
Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins with arts partners in Austin, Chinatown, Englewood, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, Little Village, and West Pullman to present this summer’s FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks pop-up performances. Exploring how we can all be heroes in our everyday lives—for ourselves, our families, and our communities—this fun-for-all-ages musical revue weaves together popular music and multidisciplinary performances with favorite scenes, characters, and speeches from Shakespeare’s plays.
Midsommer Flight “Cymbeline”
July 7 – August 13, multiple dates and park locations
Free Shakespeare in Chicago’s parks! Midsommer Flight returns for its eleventh season of free outdoor theatre with Shakespeare’s sweeping fairy tale, CYMBELINE. Join us in the park for true love, adventure, disguised identities, adulterous schemes, long lost siblings, an evil queen, and more. Bring your own picnics, chairs, and blankets!
Stone Soup Shakespeare “Pericles”
September 5 – September 22, multiple dates and park locations
Stone Soup Shakespeare's ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ presents Pericles in the Park, an epic adventure with puppets, pirates, music and more. Join our ensemble as we transform your park into a sea of islands filled with adventure, intrigue, and magic as Prince Pericles finds himself searching for his place in the world.
Series for the stroller set – events especially for early childhood audiences
Kerfuffle “The Conductors”
August 10 - 19, multiple dates and park locations
Presented by Kerfuffle, join three playful conductors as they adventure on a magic train to find treasure! Featuring live music, a pre-show coloring activity and audience interaction, “The Conductors” is a whimsical and joyful theater experience for very young children under 6 years old and their families that explores themes of community and friendship.
Toddlers, Tunes and Turtles
June 26 – July 21, multiple dates and park locations
Toddlers, Tunes, & Turtles is a family favorite every summer at the Chicago Park District. This Nature Oasis program invites young participants and families to join us for hands-on nature exploration, live music, and even interactions with real animals! Facilitators will share information on how to find even more opportunities to connect with nature around the city, get involved, and help create a permanent nature play space in your local park. The event runs rain or shine and will not be re-scheduled due to weather. Event takes place from 5-7 p.m. with animal interactions from 5-6:30 p.m. and music from 6:15-7 p.m.
Jabberwocky Marionettes “My Robot’s Robot”
June 17 – September 9, multiple dates and park locations
This summer join Jabberwocky Marionettes for a fantastical puppet adventure beyond the moon and sun, into the starry universe, into the world of science fiction. Meet the little robot working away for infinity on a spaceship in ‘My Robot's Robot,’ a puppet pantomime about friendship.
Goodman Theater “In My Granny’s Garden”
August 4 – August 19, multiple dates and park locations
Corn! Green beans! Collard greens! Cabbage! Presented by Goodman Theater, In My Granny’s Garden helps young audiences understand that food doesn't just come from the grocery store: it's grown in the ground. Audiences of all ages can enjoy a rich sensory experience as Granny explains why the food that comes out of her garden tastes so good. In My Granny's Garden is made specifically for children ages 0–5 years old and their adult friends and family. It is based on the book In My Granny’s Garden, written by Pearl Cleage and Zaron Burnett Jr. and illustrated by Radcliffe Bailey.
Park audiences are encouraged to use the hashtag #NightOutInTheParks to share photos of their Night Out in the Parks experiences for a chance to see them posted on the Chicago Park District’s social media channels.
The full list of programming is on the Night Out mobile application My Chi Parks™, available to download on Apple and Android devices, which makes planning exciting and affordable summer outings an ease. Users can browse through events by date, location and interest to discover what interesting activities are happening in a park near you. More information is available at www.nightoutintheparks.com or call 312.742.PLAY.