Mobile Unit

The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit is a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s “Mobile Theater,” which began in 1957. Papp’s original touring company evolved into the New York Shakespeare Festival, and ultimately became The Public Theater.

All of it was built on a simple idea: Culture belongs to everyone.

This idea remains at the heart of The Public Theater’s work to this day. And our Mobile Unit still takes this mission out to the communities across New York City, providing free performances to all.

The Mobile Unit presents free Shakespeare to prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers throughout New York’s boroughs. Over the years, the Mobile Unit has served thousands of audiences with critically acclaimed productions. In addition to the community tour, each Mobile Unit show “sits down” at The Public Theater’s Astor Place home to perform for Public audiences and community organizations from all over the city.

Past Mobile Unit tour venues have included Rikers Island, The Fortune Society, Park Avenue Armory Women’s Shelter, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Community Centers throughout the City, Charlotte’s Place, Borden Avenue Veteran’s Shelter, and Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center.

Recent Mobile Unit productions include Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Measure for Measure; Richard III; Much Ado About Nothing; Pericles, Prince of Tyre; and Macbeth.

The Winters Tale
Henry V
  • The Mobile Unit

Mobile Unit is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Tow Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Additional support provided by The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation provides lead support for The Public’s access and engagement programming. The Luesther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.