First Folio Theatre

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"Shakespeare's work lends itself so well to outdoor production. There are so many themes of nature," says First Folio Theatre artistic director Alison Vesely. Appropriately, the professional troupe's premiere production in 1997 was "The Tempest"; 1998's fare: "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The Peabody Estate setting, verdant grounds surrounding a 1920s Tudor mansion that is now part of DuPage County's 90-acre Mayslake Forest Preserve, is just south of the Oakbrook Center shopping mall. The large stage is set up at the foot of a small grassy ridge adjacent to an orchard. Outdoor Shakespeare is well suited to anybody who decides at the last minute to see a show--with no walls, sell-outs are virtually impossible. So pack a beverage or light meal for a pre-show picnic. Bring a lawn chair, a blanket or poncho and some bug spray and enjoy the show. "Sitting there under the stars, hearing the Bard's verse--there's nothing else like that wonderful experience," says Vesely. Performances run from the beginning of July through mid-August. Fall, winter and spring productions take place in two indoor venues--an 80-seat chamber theater for smaller classical plays and a 120-seat event hall space.