FAQs In-The-Ruins

Welcome to Chesapeake Shakespeare Company-in-the-Ruins, our summer outdoor stage


 What are “the Ruins”?  

We perform at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, maintained by Howard County in Ellicott City. The ruins are the stabilized historic remains of a Civil War-era finishing school for young women.  We build a new stage in the park and ruins each summer. When we perform “movable” shows, we create multiple sets using the ruins and landscaped park grounds, and the audience walks with the actors from scene to scene.

For GPS users, the best address for the park is 3655 Church Road, Ellicott City, 21043.  Use that address to reach our free parking in the courthouse lot.  Click here for directions.

Summer 2018:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:  Opening night will be June 22, 2018.
On the eve of a royal wedding, a quartet of lovers and a motley group of amateur actors visit a fairy-filled forest. When the worlds of mortals and fairies cross paths, mischief and mayhem follow – along with maybe the funniest scene Shakespeare ever wrote. Bring a picnic and share an enchanting night of romantic comedy under the stars in the PFI Historic Park, Ellicott City, our festival-style summer theatre home.
Click here to order tickets.


How do I buy tickets?  You may buy tickets in advance online, by phone, or at the Box Office in Baltimore. You may call the Box Office  (410-244-8570) Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  On Saturday and Sunday the Baltimore Box Office will be closed because all staff will be in Ellicott City at the park.

At the park gate:  We will sell tickets (based on availability) at the CSC Ticket Tent located at the park gate. We accept cash, checks or credit cards. Shows sometimes do sell out:  We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance.

The gate and the CSC Ticket Tent will open 90 minutes before the performances:
6:00 on Thursdays
6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
4:30 p.m. on Sundays

Groups (10 or more adults):  Call the Box Office  (410-244-8570) for more information.

Service fees:  Never!  There are no service/handling fees added to the ticket price.

FREE SHAKESPEARE FOR KIDS:  Thanks to generous underwriters and media partners, children’s tickets will be FREE for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Children ages 18 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult (up to two children per adult). We do recommend advance reservation for children’s tickets, because we expect these shows to sell out. Please book the children’s tickets when you buy your adult tickets, or call the box office. Previews performances on June 20 and 21 are excluded from free children’s tickets.

Where do I pick up my tickets? 
The Box Office sends an e-mail containing tickets that you can download (if you provided an e-mail address when you ordered the tickets).  No email?  We can hold individual tickets at the CSC Ticket Tent in the PFI Historic Park. The ticket tent is located just inside the small gate at the PFI. (Please note: As you walk up the hill you will pass Church Street and a sign for the park — keep going up. To reach the ticket tent from the parking lot, continue up the hill until you see our box office staff on the left. )

Where do I park, and is there a shuttle?
Free parking is available in the Howard County Courthouse Parking Lot.  For GPS users, the best address is 3655 Church Road, Ellicott City, 21043. The county supplies a shuttle van that runs  from the parking lot to the ticket gate before the shows June 22 through July 29. NOTE: There is no shuttle service for preview performances on June 20 and June 21. 

After the shows, the shuttle will run down the hill from the park.  You may park in our lot and then ride the shuttle, or if you wish,  walk up the hill (one-fifth of a mile); follow the signs. Drivers: You may drive up to the top and drop off passengers at the turnaround and gate, then return to the Courthouse Lot to park the car. Parking for disabled persons is available inside the park for those patrons with valid disabled parking tags. Patrons with mobility issues (without a valid handicapped tag) may be dropped off at the park; the driver can then return to the Courthouse lot to park. Please contact the Box Office in advance of your performance night if you have questions about parking: 410-244-8570  or email boxoffice@chesapeakeshakespeare.com

What about seating?
There are 200 folding chairs set up. You don’t have to bring your own unless you especially like carrying it. You may bring a blanket to use if there is space. Kids especially like to sit down front in the “blanket zone.”

Can I bring food to the park?
Yes! We encourage patrons to come early and enjoy the beautiful PFI. You can eat at your seat, or enjoy your food somewhere else in the spacious, tree-shaded park.

Can I bring wine or beer into the park?   Yes!

Will there be food for sale?  We encourage you to bring bottled water and a picnic. We will be working with a new vendor to provide concessions beginning June 16. There are a variety of restaurants on Main Street in Ellicott City, for dine-in or take-out; please support the recovering businesses of Historic Main Street.

What if I want to sit at a table?
There are several tables behind the last row of folding chairs. You can reserve a picnic table for $60. (Rental price does not include show tickets.  Picnic table seats up to 6 people.) It will be held for you – whenever you arrive.  Any tables that have not been reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

We also offer a Table for Two for $29. This is a smaller (2′  round) table set up between two folding chairs in the audience. These tables are only available as a reserved item, and the rental price does not include show tickets.

Please make your request to rent a table when you purchase your tickets.

Is there anything to do before the performance? Yes! Enjoy the park, pre-show activities and music, and your picnic.  Sundays are designated Family Fun Days, and are especially inviting for patrons of all ages. In addition to all our regular pre-show activities, there will be special activities for our younger audience members, such as costume dress-up and face-painting.

Can I bring my pet to the park?   No. Dogs and other pets are not permitted.

Can I grill in the park?  Sorry, no grills, candles, fireworks, or other sources of flame. We love our forested park!

How do I get to the Howard County Courthouse Parking Lot?
From Columbia and the South:
Take Route 29 North to Route 40 East. Turn right at Rogers Avenue. After 1 mile where Rogers Avenue splits off on the right, bear left and continue straight on the main road, which becomes Courthouse Drive. This road ends at the large Courthouse parking lot.
From Baltimore and North:
Route 70 West to Route 29 South on the left. Take Route 40 East and turn right onto Rogers Avenue. Proceed as above.
From the West:
Route 70 East to Route 29 South. Take Route 40 East. Proceed as above.

Click here for map

What if it rains?
We do our best to complete every performance, but sometimes, to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff, we may need to cancel a performance. If the performance has already begun, and the weather radar shows the storm will pass, we will hold the show for up to 45 minutes.

How do I find out if a performance has been canceled, prior to the performance?
The earliest a decision to cancel a performance will be made is 2 hours before show time. We will cancel only if the forecast/radar looks completely hopeless.
Once the decision to cancel has been made:

  • The Box Office Phone (410.244.8570) message will be changed to provide notice of a cancellation.
  • We’ll Email You: If we have your email address, we’ll send notice via email.
  • We’ll Call You: If we know of our decision in time to call patrons, we’ll call as many patrons as we can. This is why it is important for us to have a phone number that will be answered on the day of performance in our system. We can’t guarantee, but we’ll try our best.
  • Check the website: If we know of our decision in time to make an announcement, we’ll post it on our website at www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com. 

If CSC cancels a performance, what happens to my tickets?
We will exchange your tickets for another available performance so that you don’t miss a second of great theater.  You can call our Box Office (410-244-8570) or email boxoffice@chesapeakeshakespeare.com with your request to make an exchange – If for some reason this is not possible, we’ll present other options at that time.