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

Popular New York summer institution is now in its 27th year on the Lower East Side.


Two weeks only: Wed July 13, Thu July 14, Fri July15 and Thu July 21, Fri 22, Sat July 23, all at 7:00 PM.
Parking Lot of The Clemente, 114 Norfolk Street (betw. Rivington & Delancey)
Subways: F to Delancey Street, M to Essex Street.
Presented by The Drilling Company, co-presented by The Clemente
FREE, donations gratefully accepted.
Runs 1:55
In 2022, the 27th season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot will be a two-week run of The Drilling Company's production of "The Winter's Tale," a rarely-produced curiosity of the Shakespearean canon. Performances will be Wednesday to Friday, July 13 to 15 and Thursday to Saturday, July 21 to 23 in the Parking Lot of The Clemente, 114 Norfolk Street. The production was mounted June 14-16 for Bryant Park Shakespeare and will be transferred to the Parking Lot for the The Drilling Company's annual offering of free Shakespeare on the Lower East Side.

"The Winter's Tale" is regarded as one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" because its first half bristles with psychological drama while its second half is comedic and supplies a happy ending. A synopsis of the play follows below.

Director Hamilton Clancy has couched the play in the modern world to reflect the tensions of our time. Jealous King Leontes, the play's central character, cannot accept truth that is self-evident and issues of probity and deception dominate the play, as in America today.  Clancy asks, "What proof do you need to know something is a lie?  And how easily will we accept a lie if it suits our expectations?"  He asserts that the January 6 Committee's hearings made this aspect of the play impossible to ignore.

The concept of the production is to adapt Leontes' kingdom of Sicilia to contemporary New York City, with its Wall Street icons and executives. (Kings, you see, are much like Wall Street power brokers.) The sterility of their lives is represented by a sleek clean white backdrop.  Color is reintroduced to suggest Bohemia, the verdant land they retreat to for renewal. But the region is re-imagined as the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, with apple-picking replacing the play's sheep shearing festival.  This gives the company a chance to include some comic contemporary references, which Parking Lot shows are known for.
Where the adaptation gets complicated is the notion of shame.  In "The Winter's Tale," the central character becomes repentant for his wrong doings.  Clancy observes that Leontes' counterparts in modern America currently exhibit no such repentance or shame.

Leontes is played by Clancy, who is founding Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and the most prolific director and producer of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, where he has appeared as Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Petruchio and Benedick, among others. He’s been seen in film and television as Kowalski in "Orange is the New Black" (SAG Award Best Ensemble Seasons 2&3), Tom in "One Dollar" and Peck in the Coen Brothers' “Burn After Reading.” Other on-camera credits include "Blue Bloods," "Bull," "Billions," "Mindhunter" and "Gotham."
The cast also features Jane Bradley as Hermione. Parking Lot regulars will recognize her from her appearances in "As You Like It," "Twelfth Night," "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello." In “As You Like It" (2015), she earned high praise from the New York Times (Ken Jaworowski), who called her Rosalind "marvelous…wonderful by any standard.” Una Clancy, who appears frequently in productions of Irish Rep, plays Paulina. Also featured are Drew Valins as Autolycus, Bradford Frost as Polixines, Dave Marantz as the Old Shepherd, Meg Hennessey as Perdita, and Patrick Hart as Florizel.  The ensemble includes Lizabeth Allen, Robert Arcaro, Jack Sochet and Jaan Rothschild. Set design is by Jennifer Varbalow.
This production is presented by The Drilling Company and co-presented by The Clemente.
Admission is free. Chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and audience members are welcome to bring their own. Since the performance is outdoors, masks are not required but audience members may use their own discretion.
The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has been a Lower East Side neighborhood institution for 27 years.  Its concept--presenting Shakespeare plays with a "poor theater" aesthetic in a working parking lot--is now widely imitated around the US and around the world, with productions as far away as New Zealand.  In 2020, the attraction was suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown but returned last summer with "Two Noble Kinsmen."

The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center Inc. is a Puerto Rican/Latinx multi-arts cultural institution that demonstrates a broad-minded cultural vision and inclusive philosophy rooted in NYC’s Lower East Side/Loisaida. While focused on the cultivation, presentation, and preservation of Puerto Rican and Latinx culture, it is equally committed to a multi-ethnic / international latitude, determined to operate in a polyphonic manner that provides affordable working space and venues to artists, small arts organizations, emergent and independent community producers that reflect the cultural diversity of the Lower East Side and our City. 
For info on other upcoming Drilling Company productions call 212-873-9050 or visit  

Rainout notices for Shakespeare in the Parking Lot will be posted on this website and on

"The Winter's Tale" is  one of Shakespeare’s final plays that are often classified as “romances” because they are part tragedy and part comedy.  The passion of its jealous king almost parallels Othello's, but ultimately the sun shines forth and the tragic gloom is dissipated.  Leontes, king of Sicilia, irrationally and stubbornly suspects his wife, Hermione, of infidelity with Polixines, his childhood friend who is King of Bohemia. Leontes' passion is unreasonable and obsessive. He seeks to poison his friend, who escapes, leaving the king's jealousy to concentrate on Hermione. Leontes throws her into prison, where she gives birth to a daughter.  The newborn is disowned by the king, who commands that she be abandoned on a foreign shore (it turns out to be Bohemia). The Delphic Oracle proclaims Hermione's innocence, but Leontes is not convinced of this until the death of his heir and the reported death of his wife. The baby he ordered abandoned, Perdita, is miraculously adopted by an old shepherd. Years later, she attracts Prince Florizel of Bohemia as a suitor. His father, Polixines, opposes the match, thinking it unequal. The lovers flee to Sicilia and a happy solution occurs.  


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot (SITPL) is now in its 26th season (it would be the 27th, but the 2020 season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 shutdown). The program 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 concept of free Shakespeare in a parking lot, presented with a "poor theater" aesthetic, is now widely imitated around the US and around the world, with productions as far away as New Zealand.

In 2014, having lost its Parking Lot when the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area gave way to a giant mixed-used development, The Drilling Company sought a new location in the Lower East Side to continue the spunky Lower East Side tradition. After a nine-month search, the new space adjacent to The Clemente, on Norfolk Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets, was arranged. Like the previous location, it is a working parking lot and has the urban, gritty atmosphere that has made these productions memorable through the years. It is just three blocks from the municipal parking lot where the annual Free Shakespeare festival originated.

Beside producing Shakespeare, The Drilling Company, led by Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, is an incubator of new American plays. It produced new works in an intimate theater space at 236 West 78th Street, formerly 78th Street Theater Lab, from 1999 to 2014 and is presently seeking new digs for this aspect of its work. Last season, it presented "Gabriel: A Polemic" at North of History, a "popup" gallery and performance space located at 445 Columbus Ave. (between 81st and 82nd Street), near its 15-year home. The company is also the exclusive producer of Shakespeare plays for Bryant Park Presents Shakespeare.

Seats are available on a first come first served basis, with audience members often arriving early to secure a place. Audience members are welcome to bring their own chairs. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out. No one has ever been turned away and there's never a wait for tickets.

"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.


for Shows in the Parking Lot


* Performances are at: Parking Lot of The Clemente, 107 Sufolk Street (between Delancey and Rivington).
* 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 to The Clemente: 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

2019 | 2018 | 2017 |2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011


Our other venue: Bryant Park

2016 | 2015 | 2014