To experience world-class theater in Chicago is to raise the curtain on imagination, innovation and inspiration. It’s also what distinguishes theater and performing arts showcased at Navy Pier. We dream big and we act boldly to make Navy Pier your destination for arts programming.
As a community-focused cultural district, “the People’s Pier” is a talent scout in search of inclusive, eclectic programming. We proudly partner with world-class philanthropic and cultural organizations that share this passion and bring the finest theater and performing arts in Chicago and around the world to Navy Pier. We are committed to providing experiences that bring discovery and wonder.
A cultural gem of the city, Navy Pier’s Tony Award®-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is one of the world’s leading theatrical companies. Known for its audacious and vibrant, relevant and timely interpretations of Shakespearean classics, new works and family favorites, CST epitomizes extraordinary theater in Chicago.
Under the renowned leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST explores the human condition through engaging dramas, madcap comedies and toe-tapping musicals. CST is Chicago’s leading producer of international work and a frequent host for touring productions from across the globe. It also uses its artistic resources to create impactful programs for educators and students.
Adding to its formidable legacy and the cultural reputation of Chicago, CST has debuted one of the world’s newest and most unique theatrical spaces. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, CST’s third stage, is a fully enclosed, flexible, first-of-its-kind artistic platform. Its set of nine moveable seating towers, each the size of a double-decker bus standing upright, can be reconfigured to place the audience in the best spot for whatever imaginative production is on stage. This will maximize the guests’ theatrical experience, while allowing the most creativity for the artist.
The Yard connects through an adjoining lobby to CST’s existing building at Navy Pier. Together with the 500-seat Courtyard Theater and the 200-seat Upstairs Theater, CST offers the ultimate venue for any theatrical experience.
Great theater at Navy Pier is not limited to CST. Programming support provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation allows the Pier to offer a diverse slate of Chicago-centric artists.
Often times, those free, accessible performances take place outdoors on the new Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns. Nestled against Lake Michigan, these two state-of-the-art spaces offer breathtaking views of the lake and skyline. Named the Lake Stage and City Stage, they showcase a montage of the city’s finest music, dance, theater and performing arts.
The Pier’s South Dock Stages also offer opportunities for artists to connect with guests, the city and the lake. Such special events as Here Hear Chicago, a new site-specific project from world-‐renowned contemporary artist Nick Cave and architect Jeanne Gang, incorporated art, design and performance, and demonstrated the flexibility of artistic programming produced at the Pier.
Speaking of theater, Navy Pier also loves movies. In fact, the AMC® Navy Pier IMAX® Theatre is the largest movie screen in the State of Illinois. Its immense, clear images and engulfing, sharp sound, make our screen tower above the rest. When the lights go down, Navy Pier’s IMAX is an incredibly immersive movie-going experience.
At one of the world’s most-visited destinations, our arts and cultural programming will help your creativity soar. Find inspiration here.
This is the new Navy Pier. Come see it in a new light.