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Yosemite ranger, actors and students to perform Shakespeare

Central Valley and U.K. college students, scholars, a National Park Service ranger and more will present “Shakespeare in Yosemite” in Yosemite Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

The program will feature excerpts of the works of playwright and poet William Shakespeare and naturalist John Muir in Yosemite’s Lower River and Half Dome Village amphitheaters at 2 and 5:30 p.m. both days. The free, one-hour performances coincide with Earth Day on Saturday and Shakespeare’s birthday on Sunday.

Admission to Yosemite National Park will be free this weekend, in honor of National Park Week.

The project is co-directed and produced by Shakespeare scholars Katherine Steele Brokaw of University of California, Merced, and Paul Prescott of the University of Warwick (U.K.). The show features scholar Lee Stetson as Muir, National Park Service Ranger Shelton Johnson, and actors from UC Merced, Merced College, University of the Pacific, the University of Warwick, Merced Shakespearefest and other Valley theater communities.

“Shakespeare himself never got to see Yosemite, but pairing his scenes and speeches about nature with the writing of John Muir has shown how well his words address the majesty of that place,” Brokaw said.

Seán Hand, dean of the University of Warwick’s new graduate school in Roseville, added: “This is a fantastic initiative to make Shakespeare accessible to an international audience, and is a great example of the rich and new partnership opportunities open to us in developing our presence in California.”

Visitors are encouraged to plan trips in advance and arrive to the park before 9 a.m. Parking areas throughout the park are expected to fill early in the day, according to the park service. Visitors may wish to park at the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area (near Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4) and at Half Dome Village, and then use the park’s free shuttle to get to the Yosemite Valley Village and Visitor Center.

The show, which will promote environmental stewardship, is a collaboration between the National Park Service, the University of Warwick and UC, Merced. It is also supported by Misfit Press.

For information on the show, visit

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