Northwestern Arts Circle rounds up a summer of family fun


EVANSTON, Ill. — Enchanting stories and colorful characters, both classic and reimagined, will enliven Northwestern University’s Arts Circle this summer during Imagine U’s Block Party July 29. This special event featuring woodland fairy-themed activities for all ages is free and open to the public.

Other Arts Circle summer highlights include a rousing riff on one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, a celebration of beloved author Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday and the reopening of Block Museum’s Sculpture Garden.

Make the most of summer’s longer days and the cool lakefront setting with “Lunch on the Lake” music picnics and outdoor movies with pre-screening activities.

“We invite community members of all ages to encounter magical tales brought to life by Northwestern students, faculty and staff through many art forms on our beautiful lakefront campus. Explore our many secret gardens, make music, dance and dream with us this summer,” said Arts Circle Program Manager Rosie Roche.

Arts Circle summer events are free unless otherwise noted.

Campus parking is free on the weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays. More information on parking is available on the Arts Circle website.

Arts Circle Summer Events:

“Lunch on the Lake” 2017 concerts
Wednesdays, June 21, June 28, July 12, July 19 and July 26 at noon
East Lawn of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive

Norris University Center presents this al fresco lunchtime music series. Concert goers can bring their own lunch or purchase a “Lunch on the Lake” meal for $9.50 (plus tax), which includes an entrée, two sides, dessert and a beverage. Meals are available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and feature summertime favorites like BBQ baby back ribs, bratwurst and fried chicken, as well as a vegetarian option. Free watermelon is available for all.

The complete “Lunch on the Lake” concert schedule and menu are available on the Norris website.

Summer Cinema 2017
Wednesdays June 21, June 28, July 12, July 19 and July 26
Pre-movie events begin at 7:30 p.m. and films are screened at dusk (around 8:45 p.m.).
East Lawn of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive  

Norris University Center presents this outdoor movie series which includes recent animated features “Moana,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “My Life as a Zucchini” as well as Disney’s live action adventure “Jumanji.”

Movie goers are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, food, beverages (alcoholic beverages are prohibited) and an environmentally-friendly insect repellent.

The complete movie schedule and pre-screening activities are available on the Norris website. 

Roald Dahl at 100: Magic and Mischief Galore
Saturday, July 8, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Deering Library, 1937 Sheridan Road and various locations

Join Northwestern Libraries, Evanston Public Library and Baker Demonstration School for a day-long celebration of the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The BFG” and “James and the Giant Peach.” Come dressed as your favorite character from Roald Dahl’s books, and catch bubble “dreams” with butterfly nets on Deering Meadow like Sophie and the BFG. Enjoy free hot dogs, movie screenings, art projects and more.  

“A Midsummer Night’s Daydream: A Most Raucous Riff, Reveling in Shakespeare’s Renowned Reverie”
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by David Catlin
July 21 to 30
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive

Fairies, lovers, clowns and royals will draw audiences deep into the madness and nonsense of a primeval garden-wood in this hilarious and heartfelt new adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” From Lookingglass Theatre Company co-founder David Catlin comes a new and wholly original adaptation blending music, circus and Shakespeare into a 90-minute romp. The production unites the collaborative team that gave Northwestern, Chicago and the national theatre community “The Little Prince” and “Moby Dick.” Recommended for ages 10 and older.

The limited two-week summer schedule begins Friday, July 21 and runs through Sunday, July 30. Performance times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an additional matinee performance on Saturday, July 29 at 2:30 p.m.

Single tickets are $10 to 25. Advance tickets for Northwestern students are $6. For tickets and more information visit the Wirtz Center website.

National Theatre Live: Peter Pan
by J.M. Barrie
directed by Sally Cookson
Saturday, July 22, 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive

When Peter Pan, leader of the Lost Boys, loses his shadow, headstrong Wendy helps him to reattach it. In return, she is invited to Neverland, where Tinker Bell the fairy, Tiger Lily and the vengeful Captain Hook await. A riot of magic, music and make-believe ensues. A delight for children and adults alike, Sally Cookson (NT Live: Jane Eyre) directs this wondrously inventive production, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic theatre.

Tickets are $20 for the general public or $10 for full-time students with ID. More information on the Wirtz Center website.

Imagine U Daydream Backstage Workshop
Sunday, July 23, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
Upstairs Blackbox, 1949 Campus Drive

Come get lost deep in the garden-wood, transform into impossible human flowers, create ridiculous garden insects, morph into terrifying woodland beasts with members of the creative team from Wirtz Center’s “A Midsummer Night’s Daydream.” Experience Imagine U’s fun-filled 45-minute workshop exploring Lookingglass Theatre Company’s brand of physical theatre and collaborative creation. The workshop is open to any child who attends, but will be most engaging for students between the ages of 5 to 8 years old.

All tickets $5. For tickets and more information visit the Wirtz Center website.

Imagine U Block Party
Saturday, July 29, from noon to 5 p.m. (block party)
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive and various locations

Following last year’s successful inaugural Block Party, Imagine U returns to the Arts Circle with a fun-filled day of outdoor music and family activities. Make art, pop into the Block Cinema for short films and explore the reinstalled sculpture garden. The Imagine U Block Party is free and recommended for all ages. Fairy and wood sprite costumes are encouraged. Don’t miss seeing the 2:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Daydream,” before or after the Block Party.

Block Museum Campus Art Walk
Wednesdays, Aug. 2 and 9, noon
Block Museum of Art Lobby, 40 Arts Circle Drive

Sixteen sculptures are on permanent public display after being reinstalled in 2017. Situated throughout the Arts Circle on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, with landscaping and placement designed by architect John Vinci, access to these artworks is free and open to all.

More information on the art walk is available on the Arts Circle website.

The Northwestern Arts Circle brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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