Shake on the Lake is presenting David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries on Tour!


Shows are December 15 to December 18, 2016 throughout Western New York.

Check out more information on the tour including ticket info at this link here!

Images from past Shake on the Lake Seasons

“One touch of nature makes the world kin.”  ~ William Shakespeare

In 2011, Josh Rice and Pilar McKay founded Shake on the Lake over facebook. The hope was to bring Shakespeare to the shores of Silver Lake, the Westernmost Finger Lake. Performing in their hometown eventually grew into touring to other rural communities in Upstate New York.

SOTL has grown into a touring company that hosts professional actors from throughout the country at Silver Lake. Shake on the Lake now tours in five counties in Upstate New York, brings Shakespeare into the local schools & communities with Arts Education residency programs, partners with Voices UnCaged to bring theatre arts into correctional facilities,  and continues creative placemaking through theatre to rural communities throughout the area.

The Mission of Shake on the Lake is to entertain, engage, and enrich the community by creating professional theatre productions in a natural outdoor setting. In doing so, we seek to serve the community through educational outreach, artistic accessibility, and eco-friendly, green business practices to preserve the natural environment surrounding the festival.
The objectives supporting Shake on the Lake’s mission are P.L.A.Y.:
  • Production: Creating fun, family-friendly, outdoor productions of Shakespeare and other works, of the highest artistic standards
  • Loving the Lake: Utilizing cost-efficient, green production practices; recycling and refurbishing found materials for costumes, and sets; conserving energy by performing in daylight; all in an effort to preserve and celebrate the natural landscape playing host to the festival
  • Accessibility: Recognizing the power of, and believing in community, through outreach, education, and promoting local businesses and individuals as artistic partners
  • Youth Development: Cultivating the talents of local youth through teaching educational theatre workshops in conjunction with the festival


Shake on the Lake Staff

Josh Rice (Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director). Josh is a New York City-based theatre artist specializing in physical performance, improvisation, and puppetry.  Most recently, Josh was a puppeteer in the world premiere of Dan Hurlin’s Demolishing Everything With Amazing Speed at Bard Summerscape. Last year, Josh directed SOTL’s 2015 production of The Tempest. He has also appeared onstage for SOTL as Puck in 2014’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as Aegeon/The Courtezan in 2013’s The Comedy of Errors, or as himself in 2012’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged.

NYC credits: Petrushka with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra (London tour); Shank’s Mare at La MaMa, ETC and the Ringling International Arts Festival; The Scarlet Ibis at HERE Arts Center. He is Adjunct Theatre Faculty with Pace University and Sarah Lawrence College, and a Teaching Artist with the New Victory Theater. Josh and SOTL have been the recipient(s) of numerous grants from the NYSCA (2012-2016); a 2015 TCG/Andrew W. Mellon In the Lab Grant to travel/collaborate in Japan with fifth-generation puppet master, Koryu Nishikawa V; a 2015 Artist In Residency with Sagafest in Iceland; a 2015 Celebration Barn Theater Arts Incubator Residency; a 2015 Regional Economic Development Council Grant for SOTL; a 2015 Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) Grant from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs; and was awarded a 2014 Creative Community Fellowship with National Arts Strategies for his work as Founder and Director of the Mnemonic Theatre Project, his puppetry program with seniors living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Pilar McKay, Ph.D. (Co-Founder and Managing Director) is a communication professor, rural arts and culture advocate, and active creative placemaking practitioner. Committed to applying theory in practice, she serves as an accelerator on many rural-based start-up projects. She co-founded Shake on the Lake, an award-winning Shakespeare Festival based in Perry, New York and is one of the co-founders of Rural Arts Weekly, a social media network for rural arts practitioners.

Dr. McKay conducts multimedia communication research including producing a film on immigrants’ impact on food culture in a post-industrial Northeastern Pennsylvania rural community and conducting academic research on the influence of news media on place identity. She studied Rural Sociology and Applied Economics & Management at Cornell University (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) and Social Research Methodology at University of California, Los Angeles (College of Education & Information Sciences). She currently teaches in the Journalism, Radio & Broadcast concentration in the Communication Department at Josh’s alma mater SUNY Brockport.

Performance History:

2012: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
2012: An Improvised Christmas Carol
2013: The Comedy of Errors
2014: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2014: The Ugly Duckling by Katie Campbell
2015: The Tempest (First Tour)
2016: Twelfth Night (Second Tour)
2016: Winter Tour (TBA)
2017: Romeo & Juliet
2012: Arts Council for Wyoming County, Community Awards Grant
2013: Arts Council for Wyoming County, Community Awards Grant, New York State Assembly Certificate of Merit (Josh Rice, Pilar McKay)
2014: Arts Council for Wyoming County, Community Awards Grant
2015: Finger Lakes Region, Regional Economic Development Council Grantee
2016: Arts Council for Wyoming County, Community Awards Grant

Shake on the Lake, Inc is a New York State nonprofit corporation created to engage in the arts and arts education as a tax-exempt organization within the prescribed limits of 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Upon request, you may obtain a copy of Shake on the Lake’s 2015 financial report filed by Shake on the Lake by sending your request to Shake on the Lake, PO Box 57, Silver Lake, NY 14549.

Shake on the Lake ~ P.O. Box 57 ~ Silver Lake, NY 14549