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While much of the beauty of Free Shakespeare in the Park comes from experiencing theater outdoors in the uncovered Delacorte Theater, it also comes with the potential for interference from inclement weather. Over the years, we have learned how to work with what nature gives us, and when the circumstances are desirable, the special effects of nature can be spectacular. Coming to The Delacorte is an outdoor adventure, and it is always best to be prepared for inclement weather, including rain, and both hot and cool summer evenings.


  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Sunglasses
  • Light Jacket, Sweatshirt, Fleece, or a Lap Blanket
  • Poncho or Raincoat
  • Umbrellas are welcome and encouraged, but they cannot be open during a performance.


We will never cancel a performance at The Delacorte Theater before its scheduled start time.* 

In the event of rain or severe weather, the start of the performance may be delayed up to seventy-five (75) minutes from the scheduled start time; however, the performance will begin as soon as it is possible to do so. 


Should inclement weather (like light to moderate rain) occur, we will continue the performance. Still, if conditions worsen to the point where there are safety concerns, we may pause the show for up to seventy-five (75) minutes, or one (1) hour and fifteen (15) minutes before a decision is made to cancel the performance. If the performance continues during light to moderate rain, umbrella usage in the theater is not allowed for safety reasons. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a raincoat or poncho before leaving home.


Cancellation decisions are made in consultation with weather professionals with a specific forecast for The Delacorte Theater at the scheduled performance time. The safety of you, the artists, and our staff is greatly weighed into any decision. If a performance is cancelled at any point due to inclement weather, before or after it has begun, patrons in our Partners, Young Partners, and Supporter Plus membership programs may re-book for another performance date. Credits will be returned to donors' allotments the day after the performance cancellation. Re-book online by logging into your account, by contacting the Partners Desk or Supporters Desk, by filling out this Inclement Weather Exchange Request form, or by calling 212.967.7555. If you leave the theater on your own accord or choose not to attend a performance that was not cancelled, exchanges will not be accepted. Read more about our Rescheduling and Exchange Policy.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer free lottery winners, standby ticket recipients, or ADA Accessible digital distribution ticket holders the opportunity to exchange tickets. Still, we encourage you to join the lottery, standby, or distribution again for a chance to return for a future performance.


  • Umbrellas are not permitted for use during the performance, as they will block the view of the stage for others around you and may cause injury to others.
  • If there is a weather delay, please do not gather or crowd into Gate 2 or 3 tunnels - in addition, we ask that you do not stand or congregate directly in front of the gate entrances, as they are considered fire egress paths and must always remain clear.
  • The merchandise booth will not be open this year, and ponchos will not be available for sale. Please plan accordingly.
  • The covered walkways are not considered lightning-safe and should not be used for shelter. The safest and only places for you to take shelter during severe weather are INDOORS in a public space or INSIDE your vehicle. 
  • If there is a weather delay, we will communicate decisions to you via The Delacorte's public address system, by Public Theater staff, and our Social Media Channels.
  • The Public Theater will have additional face masks on hand in the event of a rain delay, and your mask becomes wet as wet masks are not effective in preventing COVID-19 or other airborne illnesses.  
  • Even in the rain, we encourage you to maintain physical distancing standards at The Delacorte.

*Special Events at The Delacorte, including Gala or Fundraiser events, may be postponed or canceled before a scheduled start. The Public will contact people through multiple communication channels as soon as a decision is reached.

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