East Hawaii News

Hilo Community Players present 46th annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival

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To go or not to go? That is a question, and the answer should be a resounding “Go!”

The Big Island community is invited to bring a chair, picnic blanket, cushion or any comfortable seat for a unique outdoor presentation of one of William Shakespeare’s best comedies during the 46th annual installment of the Shakespeare in the Park Festival presented by the Hilo Community Players.

This year, the community theater troupe is performing “Much Ado About Nothing” from July 7-9 and 14-15 on the lawn at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Performing Arts Center located at 342 W. Kawili St. in Hilo, rain or shine. The show will also go on the road for one weekend only, July 21-23, at the Honoka‘a Sports Complex located at 45-541 Lehua St. in Honoka‘a.

All performances are at 7:30 p.m. each night of the show’s run.


Directed by Jennifer Brahms Gardham with music direction by Wendell Ing, this adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” is set in mid-1930’s California and features live music by the Loose Fedoras. The show is sure to delight and entertain. This year’s cast is filled with veteran performers and a few new faces.

Audiences should prepare to laugh as they follow the bickering of Beatrice, played by Justine Thompson, and Benedick, played by Theon Weber; the roller-coaster romance of Hero, played by Erin Healani Chung, and Claudio, played by Eshan Singh; and the doggedness of Madame Dogberry, portrayed by Angie Nakamura.

Also part of the cast are John Kooistra, Saul Rollason, Ray Ryan, Danny Randerson, Bruce Mirken, Wilfred Gee, Angie Roiniotis and many more talented performers.


Admission is free; however, donations will be accepted and are appreciated. Concessions also will be available for purchase.

This 10th annual Kid Shakes presentation is called “Ho Ka Hū: No Ack!” The local twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy was written by Justina ʻŌlalimākiaikalauaki Mattos. The show is directed by Kate Curtis and Alya-Joy Kanehailua.

Follow a group of teens from Welina High as they discover how gossip can make or break relationships. The show stars first-timers Jeffery Kaleihiwa Pouha and Pikake Thomas as the contentious couple Ben Edrick and Beatrice “the Bee” Natto doing their best to deny their feelings as their friends conspire to unite them.


Seasoned actors Rayaan Genz and Aliya Sumera return to the stage as Claude Iyo and U‘i Natto, who fall prey to vicious rumors.

“Ho Ka Hū: No Ack!” performances are at 4:30 p.m. daily from July 7-9 and 14-16 also on the front lawn of the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center.

Kid Shakes performances are also free. Again, donations are much appreciated.

For more information about the 2023 installment of the Shakespeare in the Park Festival, click here.

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