Montana Shakespeare in the Parks launches largest tour yet

Coming to a park nearby: "Hamlet" and "The Winter's Tale"

On Stage

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks kicks off their 52nd season with free performances of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, June 12-15, and The Winter’s Tale, June 19-22. Performances are open to the public and held at 8 p.m. in the MSU Duck Pond Grove, with special pre-show performances taking place beginning at 7 p.m.

Now in his seventh summer tour with MSIP, Riley O’Toole will play the lead role — a first for him — in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” It will also be his first tour as associate artistic director at MSIP,Photo © Mikey Gray Headshots

Both productions have elements of comedy and tragedy (and in the case of Winter’s Tale, a healthy dose of magic!). All ages are welcome to attend and enjoy the performances.

Hamlet tells the story of the young prince of Denmark who returns home following the sudden death of his father. The most famous ghost story ever told, Hamlet grapples with the weight of his responsibility to avenge his father’s death, to out-maneuver his traitorous uncle, and “to be, or not to be.” With some of Shakespeare’s most memorable lines and iconic characters, audiences won’t want to miss this tale of love and loss, duty vs. desire, and the power of performance.

“I do believe that all of Shakespeare’s plays are timeless, but Hamlet has a point of view that everybody can identify with. I think we are all individually a version of Hamlet and can relate to the character on some level,” says Kevin Asselin, MSIP Executive Artistic Director and director of Hamlet.

As for The Winter’s Tale, this play spans 16 years during which a jealous king accuses his wife of infidelity and exiles his newborn daughter to Bohemia where she is raised by shepherds and, ultimately, falls in love with the Bohemian king’s son. Audiences are sure to relish this story of love, loss, and forgiveness.

“The play is one of Shakespeare’s last, and as such is blessed with a writer who really understood how to manipulate the form to achieve new heights of storytelling,” says Eva Breneman, director of The Winter’s Tale.

This summer, the company performs in 65 communities across five states including Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington, serving the largest number of communities to date. Most events will feature pre-show performances by local artists and audiences are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy an evening together under the Big Sky among friends and neighbors. See the full tour schedule at

Ushering Shakespeare’s immortal stories of life, love, and tragedy into a modern era, MSIP is dedicated to preserving the cultural traditions of theatre and literature through live, professional performances that are free for all people, for all time.