COVID-19 sends Geneva’s Shakespeare in the Park to YouTube

GENEVA – Picnicking at Shakespeare in the Park is not possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, a virtual performance will be offered by the city of Geneva’s Cultural Arts Commission, officials announced in a news release.

Elgin-based Goodly Creatures Theatre is presenting the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” on video, which was released to the public July 18 and is available to view on the city’s YouTube channel via its website at It will be available until Sept. 7.

Cultural Arts Commission event chair Gail Gaboda stated in the release that the annual outdoor performance draws up to 1,000 people each summer.

“Canceling the event for safety concerns disappointed many of our fans,” Gaboda stated in the release. “While we could not gather at Island Park, we wanted to find a way to connect with them.”

Shakespeare’s beloved comedy tells the story of Benedick and Beatrice, a pair of sworn enemies constantly engaged in a “merry war” designed to insult and berate one another.

Hilarity ensues, as a story of rumors, deception, and mistaken identity unfolds, resulting in the most unlikely pairs joining forces to set things right.

Goodly Creatures founder and artistic director Katrina Syrris is an alumna of the popular Midsummer Theatre Troupe that previously performed at Geneva’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Started in 2018, Goodly Creatures specializes in breathing new life into classic works of literature and producing original and thrilling plays.

The city’s Cultural Arts Commission has sponsored Geneva’s Shakespeare in the Park events for 14 years.

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