FAQ: Performances of Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common


When are the performances?

The summer 2021 production of The Tempest will run from July 21-August 8.  Performances on Tuesday through Saturday evenings and most Sunday evenings begin at 8pm.  On Sunday, August 1 the performance begins at 6pm. There are no performances on Mondays.

What is the running time of The Tempest?

100 minutes with no intermission.

What ages are appropriate for The Tempest?

We often welcome children and families to our show but we recommend each family familiarize themselves with the story of The Tempest which incorporates some themes in the script that may be violent, scary or inappropriate depending on the child/age.

Are there matinee performances?

There will be no matinee performances of The Tempest.

Are there special performances or considerations for patrons with disabilities?

The Tempest  will feature on-site accessible services to patrons with mobility challenges, those who are deaf, hard of hearing, and blind.

Our Services
  • American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreted Performances
  • Audio Described Performances

Accessible Seating for wheelchairs or for those with mobility impairments and their companions are reserved in several free seating locations around the Common.

Accessible seating is also available in CSC’s Friend Section for a minimum donation of $150.

Accessibility Performances

Open Captioning: July 31
Audio description and ASL interpreted performance #1: August 1
ASL interpreted performance #2: August 6
Rain Date for all Access services: August 8

Information about pre-show description:

Please arrive at the theater half an hour before the official curtain time to hear the pre-show audio description.  Pre-show descriptions are packed with details which describers don’t have time to explain once the curtain goes up.  These details include descriptions of sets, props, characters, the actors playing them, and their costumes.  They can also establish a shorthand vocabulary for what describers will call certain characters or areas of the set and will explain the stylistic conventions of the show.  In short, pre-show descriptions can greatly enhance the audio description user’s experience of live theater.

Where are the performances?

Performances take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common, across the street from the AMC Loews Boston Common movie theater on Tremont Street.


If you are traveling via the MBTA, there are several stations located within steps of the Boston Common.

Green Line: Boylston or Park Street stops

Orange Line: Downtown Crossing or Chinatown stops

Red Line: Park Street or Downtown Crossing stops.

Where should I park?

Parking is available in the Boston Common Garage.  (Zero Charles Street, Boston, MA) Be sure to pick up a discount parking coupon from one of the tents or from one of our ambassadors.  These coupons, provided by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, extend a discount to our patrons and proceeds go directly to CSC.

How much are tickets?

All performances of Shakespeare on the Common are FREE and open to the public, however advance reservations are required. We offer a limited number of reserved chairs in our Friends Section located near the stage at each performance.  Click HERE for more information. In order to help us keep Shakespeare on the Common free for everyone, we encourage all who attend to consider leaving a donation to support our production.

Are shows delayed or canceled for weather?

Audience and actor safety is our main concern.  In cases of heavy rain or lightning storms, we will cancel.  Audiences can get weather updates on the homepage of our website or by calling the Weather Hotline at 617-362-7485. Information will also be distributed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Are there chairs?

A limited number of lawn chairs are available for rent in advance when you make your reservation.  Chair rentals are $10 and must be selected as part of your reservation. You can retrieve your chair(s) at the entrance when you check-in.  After the performance, simply leave your chair(s) set up and our staff will sanitize and retrieve them.

Can I bring my own chair? If so, where can I sit?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own chair and/or blanket to sit on.  Please note that if you have a tall chair that could obstruct the view of other patrons, you will be directed to a Tall Chair Section. If you plan to arrive early, please do not leave your chair or blanket unattended.

How do I get one of those seats near the stage?

Shakespeare on the Common is always FREE and open to the public.  A limited number of reserved chairs will be available in our Friends Section for each performance. For more information, click HERE.

Is there food?/Can I bring my own?

You are welcome to bring your own modest refreshments and we ask you to help us keep the Boston Common clean by picking up after yourself. For dinner before or after the performance, we encourage you to visit one of the many restaurants located in Downtown Crossing. Alcohol is not permitted on the Boston Common and no concessions will be available for sale this year. 

What else should I bring?

Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket to sit on, a light sweater, mosquito repellent, and an umbrella if the forecast calls for rain. If you plan to arrive early, please do not leave your blanket or chair unattended.

Are there restrooms?

Yes, portable toilets are located behind the bandstand.

Is there merchandise available for purchase?

There will be no merchandise sold onsite this year.

How can I support Free Shakespeare on the Common?

There are a number of ways to support CSC.  You can CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can make a donation.  Free Shakespeare on the Common is possible thanks to the support of friends like you.

Can I smoke on the Common?

No, there is now a smoking ban in all Boston Parks.  A $250 fine will be enforced by the Park Rangers onsite.

Featured Photo: Marin Ireland and Larry Coen in As You Like It, Shakespeare on the Common 2008-Photo by T. Charles Erickson

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