Delacorte Theater

The Delacorte Theater is an open-air venue off the shores of Turtle Pond that serves as the summer home to the Public Theater's free annual productions of Shakespeare in the Park.

In 1954, Public Theater founder Joseph Papp began producing a series of traveling Shakespeare productions. Papp's Shakespeare Workshop found a permanent home in the 1960s on the lawn in front of Belvedere Lake (now Turtle Pond). Philanthropist George T. Delacorte, Jr. donated funds to replace the theater's folding chairs and portable stage with a permanent amphitheater. In 1962, the Delacorte Theater officially opened with a production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, starring George C. Scott and James Earl Jones.

Today, New Yorkers and visitors looking for a free ticket head to the Park early and often spend hours camped out in a line that snakes along the Park’s path.