For more than a decade, the theater department at Moraine Valley Community College has performed free outdoor summer Shakespeare plays. When the series was moved onto the Gateway, which was designed for outdoor music and theater productions, Dr. Craig Rosen, professor of theater and Academic Theatre Program coordinator had the idea of adding a garden.
“The campus expansion that transformed that area from a parking lot into a park also led to my idea for this Shakespeare garden. I hoped for a space that would supplement our annual production, be a gathering place and serve as a cross-disciplinary landmark for studies as diverse as biology, poetry, botany and theater. Although there are some impressive Shakespeare gardens in the country, few really have an inclusive academic focus,” he said.
The Shakespeare Garden was dedicated in 2016, the year marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. The blooming garden is now an inviting space for students to gather and also a tranquil setting for the annual Shakespeare Under the Stars performances. The brick-lined pathway is surrounded by trees and winds through foliage referenced in Shakespeare’s poems and plays with quotes by Shakespeare incorporated into signage on the path.