Arts & Entertainment | Theater & Performances, Neighborhood Gem

Oak Park Festival Theatre

Meet us where community and theater come together

The Oak Park Festival Theatre has come a long way since its first production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed on the bed of a flatbed truck in 1975. Today the theatre offers a summer program on a stage built every year in the beautiful Austin Gardens.

It was evident that this outdoor theatre was destined for great things from the moment that then-unknown actors David Mamet and William H. Macy performed in that first play from the back of a truck.

Just as Mamet went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for playwriting and Macy went on to win coveted parts like Frank Gallagher in the TV Show Shameless, the Oak Park Festival Theatre spread its wings from humble beginnings into a place where stars are born and a space where a community comes together.

In a beautiful tradition, locals and visitors alike gather every summer in the outdoor garden to watch top-notch performances beneath (and by) the stars.

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July and August are the best times to visit the Oak Park Festival Theatre. This is when the summer plays are performed on a stage in the garden. Check the theatre website for special, off-season productions performed around Oak Park.


Tickets for a show at the Oak Park Festival Theatre are about $38. Check for discounts for seniors and students. Children under 12 years of age are free.

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The Oak Park Festival Theatre was started by local resident Marion Karczmar. Today it is part of the Park District of Oak Park with a staff who adheres to the guiding principles of passion, bravery, and generosity of spirit.

The stage is an inclusive place at the Oak Park Festival Theatre where you will feel welcomed into the community.

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The stage for the Oak Park Festival Theatre is in Austin Gardens at 167 Forest Avenue. The gardens are just a half-mile walk from the Harlem/Lake Stop on the CTA Green Line or a half-mile walk from the Oak Park Stop on the Union Pacific West Metra train.

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