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Shakespeare in the Arb

Production of Romeo and Juliet on the front page of the website, featuring RC alumnus class of 2018 Cameron Flynn as Romeo and RC student Maria LoCicero as Juliet, June 2018

Celebrating our 20th year!

Shakespeare in the Arb (SITA) is a unique collaboration between Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum and the Residential College. For 19 years, we have provided the University and Ann Arbor community with engaging, magical theater in an inspiring natural setting. To celebrate our 20th year, we were planning a series of events culminating in a reprisal of A Midsummer Night’s Dream each weekend in June of 2020, but that is now postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.

The magic of “Shakespeare in the Arb” is that there is no stage. The audience moves with the actors as the play unfolds throughout the 120-acre Nichols Arboretum. The Arb and its vast panoramas are as much a part of the action as the actors are.

Each year’s cast is made up of community and university members alike, with over half of the cast being U-M students, faculty, or staff. We intentionally create an environment in which people of different ages and backgrounds collaborate, and this helps to push students out of their comfort zone and into a balanced ensemble.

A must-see Ann Arbor summer event, Shakespeare in the Arb reaches a well-educated, diverse audience. SITA regularly attracts leaders in the University, Ann Arbor, and metro Detroit communities as well as singles, couples, families, and outings of friends or colleagues.

Attendees are drawn to the promise of a beautiful summer evening in one of the richest landscapes in the region. Before the show, audience members can be found snapping selfies in Nichols Arboretum’s historic Peony Garden, or enjoying a picnic while watching the peonies unfold in full bloom.


Listen to the June 2018 RC Podcast episode below about the 18th production of Shakespeare in the Arb - Romeo and Juliet - featuring:

- Founder and artistic director, Kate Mendeloff
- Associate director, actor and fellow RC Drama faculty, Martin Walsh
- Rachel Thursby, playing Juliet
- Cameron Flynn, playing Romeo
- and the Romeo and Juliet musicians, Chris Martin, Mandolin, Elijah Hatcher-Kay, guitar, Michael Shapiro, clarinet, directed by Katie Sucha

Read the transcript of this podcast episode here.

For information about participating in SITA, please contact founder Kate Mendeloff.

To find information about this year's production of Shakespeare in the Arb, go to Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) , or like Shakespeare in the Arb on Facebook for updates on the production!