The Drilling Company's
Always free. Never a wait for tickets.

The Drilling Company performs free outdoor Shakespeare at La Plaza @ The Clemente Parking Lot, 107 Suffolk Street, located at 107 Suffolk Street, just three blocks from the municipal parking lot where the plucky New York cultural attraction started in 1995. This is our 24th season!

directed by Karla Hendrick
with Jane Bradley as Hamlet
July 12 - 28, 2018

Jane Bradley as Hamlet. Photo by Lily el Naccash.

The Drilling Company, Hamilton Clancy Artistic Director, will present "Hamlet," directed by Karla Hendrick and starring Jane Bradley, for its 2018 Shakespeare in the Parking Lot production.

To our knowledge and research, we are the first major New York outdoor stage company to offer a production with a female Hamlet. Unlike the well-known cross-gender castings of the masterpiece (from Sarah Siddons to Sarah Bernhardt to Maxine Peake), this one is not a woman playing a man: the title character is a feminine Princess of Denmark, whose tragedy is meant to explore when happens when you inject female power into a chaotic and confused world.

Director Karla Hendrick will stage the character as a modern young woman of intelligence and wisdom. This Hamlet, clad in skirts, is rendered powerless when her uncle, Claudius, inserts himself into the line of succession and thrusts her aside. Determined and noble, she is someone who would take control through heart and with strength, but her conscience is a paralyzing force; moreover, she finds herself continuously isolated and betrayed by those closest to her and this impacts her ability to function. The play will be cut to a little over two hours to give the feeling of a world speeding out of control around her. The audience is challenged to consider whether the ascendancy of a female ruler could have wrought a better Denmark.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will both be women and Polonius will become Polonia, a mother. Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia will be a lesbian love affair. Laertes will remain a man and the duel at the play's end will be a sword fight in which Hamlet's intelligence and wit are evenly matched against Laertes' brawn.

Gracie Winchester (L) as Ophelia and Jane Bradley (R) as the Princess of Denmark. Photo by Lily el Naccash.

Parking Lot regulars will recognize Jane Bradley from her appearances in "As You Like It," "Twelfth Night," "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello." Drilling Company fans will also recall her as Susan in "Gabriel: A Polemic" by C. Denby Swanson last fall at North of History. In "As You Like It" (2015), she earned high praise from the New York Times (Ken Jaworowski), who called her "marvelous as Rosalind, heightening the humor with clever gestures and speaking the speech remarkably well, even over the din of nearby street noise. Her scenes with the fool Touchstone...and her would-be beau, Orlando...are wonderful by any standard." When the production was revived for Bryant Park Shakespeare the next year, Front Row Center (Donna Herman) called her a "stunning Rosalind" whose "handling of Shakespeare's language is perfect" and who "transforms herself physically into the man Ganymede with just the right touch--we believe she could fool without forgetting who she is." In 2014, reviewing her as Emilia in "Othello," The Times' Ken Jaworowski declared, "Ms. Bradley, in particular, stands out in her valiant closing scene." In 2017, NY Theatre Wire's Beate Hein Bennet, reviewing her in "Gabriel:A Polemic," praised her "bravura performance" writing, "Jane Bradley imbues Susan with a sharp tongue that slices the air like a rapier as she presents her challenge from the outset: 'Is there free will?' Her energy never falters as she dominates the argument."

Ms. Bradley is Associate Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and has directed its production of "Twelfth Night" for Bryant Park Shakespeare. She relates she was originally daunted by the challenge of playing Hamlet, but now realizes that the role is totally open to interpretation. She muses, "The big task is to remain honest and make discoveries, to bring yourself to the role as much as possible."

Director Karla Hendrick made her Parking Lot directorial debut last season with "All's Well That Ends Well" and is now one of the company's core directors. She is also one of The Drilling Company's most accomplished actresses. For her performance as Betty in "The Norwegians" by C. Denby Swanson, she was cited by The New York Times as one of the Top 25 Quirky and Magical Moments in Theater of 2013. Her other significant roles in the company include the Woyzeck character's psychiatrist in "Reservoir" by Eric Henry Sanders and her performances in both the Parking Lot and Bryant Park in "Hamlet" (Gertrude) and "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (Mistress Ford). She earned a BA in Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke, attended the British American Drama Academy, Oxford and earned an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a Master Teaching Artist at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Gracie Winchester as Ophelia. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Commenting on Maxine Peake's Hamlet (in theater in 2014, on film in 2016), English critics have recounted the tradition of women performing Hamlet, from Sarah Siddons in 1777 to many Victorian actresses, amateur and professional. Sarah Bernhardt, the first actress to be filmed in the part, declared it should always be performed by a woman. Female Hamlets declined during the supposedly feminist 20th century and critics speculated this might have been due to the rise in importance of star directors, who until recently were predominantly male. Cross-gender casting has traditionally made Hamlet a choice role for women over 40, but the interpretation of Hamlet as a real woman is rare, even in our time. "Clearly the time is ripe for a female-directed Hamlet with a female lead. The character ultimately is Shakespeare’s greatest 'every person' " said Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.

The cast includes Bob Arcaro* as Claudius, Bill Green* as Ghost, Una Clancy as Gertrude, Adam Huff* as Laertes, Elowyn Castle* as Polonia, Gracie Winchester* as Ophelia, Ayo Oneke Cummings as Horatio, Aly Talley Byatt as Rosencrantz, Lulu Fairclough-Stewart as Guildensternb, Dan Teachout* as Player King, Kendra Oberhauser as Player Queen, Maggie Rothberg as Lucianus and Colleen Cosgrove as Gravedigger.

Assistant Director is Dave Marantz. Set Designer is Jennifer Varbalow. Fight Choreographer is Brad Frost. Stage Manager is Whitney Rich. Company Manager is Jaquawn Turner. Light Coordinator is Margo Tillstrom.


*= member, Actor's Equity Assn.


"It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle," says founding artistic director Hamilton Clancy. Shows are offered while the lot is in use. The action sometimes happens around a parked car which drives away during a performance. At such times, the players stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park. It's all part of the fun.

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot was begun in 1995 by Expanded Arts under the artistic direction of Jennifer Spahr. When Ms. Spahr retired in 2000, an organization known as Ludlow Ten was formed under the direction of Leonard McKenzie. The Drilling Company began co-producing SITPL with Ludlow Ten in 2001. After Mr. McKenzie's retirement in 2005, The Drilling Company was asked to continue the great tradition of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. The attraction moved to its current location at 114 Norfolk Street in 2015.

for Shows in the Parking Lot


* The Parking Lot is located behind La Plaza @ The Clemente at 107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets.
* Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00 PM and admission is FREE.
* Seats are available on a first come first served basis, with audience members often arriving early to secure a place. You are welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out.
We've never turned anyone away and there's never a wait for tickets.
Subways: F to Delancey Street, M to Essex Street. MAP


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot



New York Times, "An ‘As You Like It’ on Asphalt, From Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" by Ken Jaworowski July 15, 2015
The Villager, "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot drives on" by Sean Egan July 15, 2015
Wall Street Journal, "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Finds a New Spot" by Pia Catton July 8, 2015
My Fox NY, "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" by Lidia Curanaj July 9, 2015
"This Week in Shakespeare" interviews Hamilton Clancy August 5, 2013

Production photos of current and past seasons are available here.


Wall Street Journal:
On the Lower East Side, Shakespeare Among the Camrys

by Nick Neyland


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

2017 |2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011


Our other venue: Bryant Park

2016 | 2015 | 2014