Charmed By Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing
Twelfth Night
Henry VI, Part II
Henry VI, Part I
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Richard III
Henry VI, Part III

All About Shakespeare
His Life
His Work
His Influence

Additional Reading List


Dates at a glance

Shakespeare By The Sea
June 9-August 13, 2011

Utah Shakespeare Festival
June 23-October 22, 2011

The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
July 15-August 21, 2011

Virginia Shakespeare Festival
July 1-31, 2011

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
February-November 6, 2011

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
April 17-October 6, 2011

The Old Globe, San Diego, California
May 7-Sept. 25, 2011

Colorado Shakespeare Festival
June 24-August 14, 2011


Shakespeare Festivals Worldwide

Upcoming Events

“The Play’s the Thing” (Hamlet a2s2)
There are over 200 Shakespeare Theater companies just in the United States and many more in almost every other country! I am going to highlight different acting companies and festivals and also individual Shakespeare performances done by non-Shakespeare companies. I will also occasionally have reviews of some of those productions or even the occasional Shakespeare movie that is released that I am able to attend. Consider this your “everything you need to know about Shakespeare performances” location!


Southwest Shakespeare Company-Mesa Arizona

Southwest Shakespeare Company (SSC) was founded in 1994 by educators, actors and Shakespeare aficionados, Kevin Dressler and Randy Messersmith with the desire to offer quality productions of Shakespeare and other classical theater shows to the community and to make Shakespeare “understandable to the masses”. Now 19 years later, they are beginning their season with Love’s Labour’s Lost on September 6th, 2012 at the Mesa Arts Center. In 2000 Jared Sakren joined as the Artistic Director of the Company. Their high quality productions attract actors from across the country along with popular local actors. 
The plays they will be mounting this season beside Love’s Labour’s Lost are; A Christmas Carol, (11/24-12/22), The Tempest and Hamlet (1/10-26), Private Lives (2/28-3/23), and ending the season with She Stoops to Conquer (4/11-27). 
Along with their regular shows, the company also has an Educational Outreach Program that offers several opportunities to enhance the “Shakespeare” experience. These educational programs are; Flachmann Seminars, which offer a day long emersion into the current play with demonstrations, and discussions. Then all seminar attendees go to the play that night. Next are the Student matinees, where school groups from all over Arizona and sometimes further come to a special showing of the Shakespeare shows during school hours. For students they also offer touring shows with the plays reduced in time and will be shown in classes for the students to see, along with demonstration classes taught on theater fighting, make-up, costuming, or anything the school teacher would like demonstrated in that particular class. The company also offers Teacher guides for each of the season’s plays that offer ideas for activities that will enhance the student’s appreciation of the plays when they see them. And finally, a pre-show orientation and talk back sessions with the director and actors at the plays. So as you can see, SSc is very committed to helping the community have every opportunity to enjoy the Shakespeare Theater experience. 
The performances are held in the Mesa Arts Center in downtown Mesa Arizona. Mesa is conveniently located close to Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, and all four cities offer many fun and exciting activities to do if you come into town for a visit when seeing one of the shows. Make sure if you are planning a trip to Arizona during the months when it is snowy and cold in other states that you add a show to your list of things to do and help support Southwest Shakespeare Company!   Check out their web site at: www.swshakespeare.org

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is now celebrating its 57th season, but the history of this Festival goes back even further than this.

Over a century ago, the senior class at what is now Colorado University at Boulder would perform plays outside in a grove of cottonwood trees near the building “Old Main”.  Just as in Shakespeare’s day, the performances were during the daylight hours due to the lack of electricity.  In 1901 when electric lighting was available these plays moved to the evenings.

The tradition was halted after 19 years due to the advent of WWI and was not resumed until 1944 in the new Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater, named after the first woman professor at UC and the first woman in the United States who taught at a State University.

UC Shakespeare teacher James Sandoe was asked to direct a play in this new theater for the summer of 1944.  The play Romeo and Juliet was the first production in the new Theatre.  Over the next couple of years, he also staged The Merchant of Venice, and Henry IV, Part 1.  

Jack Crouch, UC English professor officially founded the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in 1958 and increased the number of plays performed each season from one to three.  In 1975, CSF set the record of being the first American festival to have performed the entire canon of plays with their production of Cymbeline.  Not only was CSF the first festival but also “the first canon completion by an entirely non-professional repertory company, and only the second by an educational institution.”

Colorado Shakespeare Festival runs this season from June11th –August 9th , showing 5 plays; Much Ado About NothingOthello, Hevry V, and Henry VI pt. 1, and the non-Shakespeare play is, Wittenberg .  For information on tickets, check out their site by clicking here.

Along with the plays, the festival offers, a variety of other opportunities to enjoy while there such as, picnics, prologues, Green Shows, chats with William Shakespeare, and you can even take a stroll through the Shakespeare Gardens that are located on the campus of CU.

They also offer a Holiday play each year in November and December, so watch for information about it if you plan on being in the Boulder area for the holidays.

In 1992, CSF was named by Time magazine as one of the top Shakespeare festivals in the nation.

The company is also involved year-round in a community outreach and educational program entitled “Living Shakespeare”, which has touring programs that provide performances and workshops to students K-12 and three week summer performance training for young actors ages 10-18. They also offer other community programs to help bring the words of Shakespeare to members of their State.

Boulder Colorado was founded by gold-miners in the 1850’s and mining played a very important role in its development. It is in the amazingly beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In 1877, the University of Colorado opened its doors to 44 students, one professor, a President, and one building “Old Main”, which is still in use today.

Boulder has many things to see and do while you are visiting the CSF. Check out their tourist information by clicking here.

What better way to enjoy Shakespeare than with quality performances and the beautiful surroundings of Boulder Colorado. See you at the show!!!


Shakespeare By The Sea

Are you going to be anywhere near the Los Angeles, California area this summer?  Then don’t miss a performance from the theater company, Shakespeare by the Sea. This non-profit organization was created in 1998 by Producing Artistic Director Lisa Coffi. They have partnerships with local city organizations that enable them to perform in various cities for free admission. Over 3000 patrons attended the 9 performances the first season and since then, SBTS has grown into a season that runs for 9 weeks. Their performances are doen in various locations in and around venues throughout LA and Orange County, all of which are still free to all who attend. They perform in 14-15 cities and 34-36 performances.  Go to their website by clicking here.

The plays they will be performing this season are As You Like It, beginning June 18, and The Tempest, beginning June 25. Since their beginnings, they have grown into a mid-sized arts organization.

This organization is an integral part of the San Pedro and South Bay communities, but the free summer festival remains the core program and has become an annual tradition for many families. These plays, have enabled thousands of youth and their families to experience Shakespeare and other entertainment in Southern California since 1998.
Shakespeare by the Sea’s season runs from June 18th-August 22nd 2015. The list of Cities they will be offering free performances in can be found on their website, but here are a few:

  • San Pedro
  • Rancho Palo Verdes
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Lakewood
  • Newport Beach
  • Torrance

Just to name a few of the locations.  So if you are planning a trip to Southern California to visit all the fun activities that are available, don’t forget to add to that list a performance by Shakespeare by the Sea which will most likely be in a city you will be near.


The Old Globe, San Diego, California

Living in Arizona, it is kind of a custom for many desert dwellers to leave the 110+ degrees in July and August and escape to Southern California.  However, you don’t have to wait until then if you want to see the two Shakespeare plays that will be performed at the Old Globe in San Diego beginning April 4, 2015.  Twelfth Night , June 21-July 26, and The Comedy of Errors, August 16-Sept. 20,  at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.  They have multiple theaters and four additional plays.  To see the entire season, check out their website linked below.  The Old Globe is located in Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s great tourist spots to visit.

The Old Globe is an internationally-acclaimed, Tony award-winning regional theater that has been around for 75 years, adding to the cultural experience of San Diego.  They produce 15 plays, performed on 3 stages, during its year-round season.  Their productions include Musicals, Classic and Contemporary works, and the very popular Shakespeare Festival.  They have been nominated for many Tony awards and have gone on to win several.  More than twenty of their highly acclaimed productions have gone on to be seen in New York City on Broadway and on Off-Broadway venues. 

The Old Globe also has an Educational Department that provides numerous programs for all ages.  From in-school support learning that offers performances, workshops, and professional development.  Their  adult programs help their audiences better understand the productions by offering seminars, lectures and more.  They even have a graduate acting program that is considered one of the premier classical training programs in the country.  They feel that by offering these educational opportunities, they are not only educating their current audiences but also the future audiences.

If you are planning a trip to the San Diego area, consider making the Old Globe one of the “to do” visits on your itinerary.  You can see more about all of their 2015 production’s here at their website.


Virginia Shakespeare Festival

Have you ever wondered when the first Shakespeare play was performed in the New World? Well, according to the Virginia Shakespeare Festival it was in 1753 when the Hallam acting troupe arrived in Williamsburg Virginia, after having broken with the New Wells Theatre in London. They performed The Merchant of Venice for their first performance. Now, 258 years later, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival (VSF) is celebrating its 37th season and hope you can join them for “the Bard in the ‘Burg” as they like to say. 
Their season is short, June 8th - August 2nd, so start planning your trip around that schedule. The two plays they are presenting are:  All's Well That End's Well, July 8-July 19th, and the ever popular, Antony and Cleopatra, July 23 -August 2. There is so much to see and do in this area of Virginia that if you are going to be visiting and plan smart, you could catch both of these shows while you spend a week in beautiful Williamsburg Virginia. 

The performances are in the main auditorium of Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall on the campus of The College of William and Mary. It seats 600 and the performances are Wednesday through Saturday evenings and a Sunday matinee. You can check for times and ticket details on their website. 

Williamsburg is such a beautiful area, and The College of William and Mary is very close to the amazing Colonial Williamsburg. If you are in the area, make sure you have a chance to step back into the early days of American history and visit the homes, shops, exhibits, and demonstrations that they have here. We took our 6 children when they were ages 3-18 years of ages and they were all entertained by everything they saw. There was something for everyone. We stayed at a nearby campground. Years later, my husband, youngest son and I made a return visit and it was even more enjoyable for us (I wonder why?). Maybe it was because we stayed in a nice hotel this time. Anyway, there are many things to do while visiting the area, including the Berkeley Plantation, where the first Thanksgiving was held in 1619, (3 years after Shakespeare’s death), and many other attractions to check out. Just check out the Williamsburg tourism website.

So don’t miss your chance to see one or more performance of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival while on a visit to Williamsburg Virginia. It will be a memorable adventure!


Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

One of my favorite things to do whenever I go to London is to attend a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. I still have not yet seen a performance in the theater but that just means I have to go back again…right? 

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater’s modern history starts in 1949 when an American actor, Sam Wanamaker came to London and he set out to find the site of the original Shakespeare’s Globe, only to find a bronze plaque on the side of a brewery. He began to try to think of a better memorial to the memory of William Shakespeare and that was a replica of the Globe Theater itself. In 1970 he founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust and began raising money and support worldwide for the project. It took him over 20 years but his dream came true when Shakespeare’s Globe opened in 1997. It is approximately 750 feet (230 meters) from the original site that burned down in 1613 during a battle scene in a performance of Henry V

The 2015 season of Shakespeare’s Globe begins on April 23 with a production of The Merchant of Venice.  The season includes 12 plays in total.  In addition to Merchant..., the main Shakespeare plays are: Romeo and Juliet (Apr 27-May 8),  As You Like It (beginning on May 15), King John (beginning on Jun 1), Measure for Measure (beginning on Jun 20), Richard II (beginning on Jul 11),Much Ado about Nothing (Aug 10-Sept 12)  . 

Even if you can’t see a play while visiting you MUST do a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe. As you wait for your tour to begin, they have an amazing exhibit that brings Shakespeare’s world to life, from display’s to film commentaries about the great Bard. It explores how life in London was in the early 1600’s, how special effects were done, how clothes were made and many other activities. 

This company also has many educational opportunities. Hundreds of students come daily and participate in their Lively Action workshops, lectures and tours. Globe Education offers projects for the local schools and also schools nationally and internationally in order to bring Shakespeare into the classrooms. For 21 years they have helped teachers develop new and entertaining ways to explore his works in their classrooms. These teachers then inspire their students with Shakespeare’s words.  

For more information about Shakespeare’s Globe and their performances please visit their website.


Oregon Shakespreare Festival

One of the most famous and renowned Shakespeare Festivals in the USA is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Their season runs with the calendar year starting in February through November of 2015. 

This festival has 3 theaters, the New Theater, the Angus Bowmer Theater, and the Elizabethan Theater, which is an outdoor theater, modeled on a smaller scale, after The Globe Theatre in London. They also have two Offstage Events during their season this year.   

They will be performing a variety of plays, three of which will be Shakespeare plays. These five are;

Much Ado About Nothing (Feb 20-Nov 1),

Pericles (Feb. 26-Nov 1), and

Antony and Cleopatra (Jun. 2-Oct 9) 

They will also be performing;

Guys and Dolls (Feb 22-Nov 1)

Fingersmith (Feb 21-Jul 9)

Long Day's Journey Into Night (Mar 25-Oct 31)

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (Aug 15-Oct 31)

Head Over Heals (Jun 3-Oct 10)

The Count of Monte Cristo Jun 4-Oct 11)

The Happiest Song Plays Last (Jul 7-Nov 1)

Sweat (Jul 29-Oct 31).   

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1935 which makes it one of the oldest non-profit theaters in the USA. OSF season runs for eight and a half months and has a total of 11 plays in their 3 theaters during the season. There are more than 780 performances and about 400,000 patrons see these plays each season. 

 
Part of their mission statement says this:
Learning; We believe in offering company members, audiences, teachers and students the richest possible learning experiences.

OSF has a long history of offering various learning opportunities for their Festival patrons, ranging from free discussions after performances, classes for teachers, week-long retreats, school visit programs, free materials for classrooms, and seminars for students to name a few. For more information about the Festival visit their website

Plan a Trip! Ashland, Oregon is located just north of the California border, about 285 miles south of Portland. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges that could offer additional activities that could also be included in your trip while at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. For more tourist information about Ashland, Oregon and the surrounding area see their tourism website.

Utah Shakespeare Festival

The upcoming season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, held in the beautiful city of Cedar City, Utah, looks to be a great offering of plays. Their season officially runs from June 25-October 31, 2015. The season is divided into two parts. The summer shows are:The Taming of the Shrew, Henry IV Part two, King Lear, Amadeus, South Pacific, and Chraley's Aunt.  Then, beginning Sept 23rd, the fall shows are:  Charley's Aunt contiues from the summer run, and added to it is, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Dracula, perfect for Halloween night!  

The great thing about this festival is the variety of shows. In the summer schedule, the six plays include, three Shakespeare, one Musical, one Comedy and one Drama, so you can mix and match which ones interest you, or you can see them all. The plays are shown in three different theaters. There are two indoor theaters and one outdoor theater which is a pretty good replica of the Globe Theater from Shakespeare’s day, only a bit smaller. I think Shakespeare plays are the best when they are performed outside under the stars, but that is a personal preference. 

The quality of the acting is outstanding and consistent from year to year as are the costumes and sets.  They also have a variety of other activities in conjunction with the festival. These are:

  • Repertory Magic (witness scene changes as they are happening)
  • Backstage Tours
  • Free Greenshow performances each night
  • Play orientations
  • Literary Seminars
  • And many more activities to choose from in the area. 

When not seeing a performance, you have the beautiful Southern Utah scenery to see and enjoy. You are less than 30 minutes from Cedar Breaks National Park, Kolob Canyon, and about a two-hour drive from the Grand Canyon National Park. There are many other hikes or sites to drive to, camping areas to stay in, and lakes to fish at. It is truly one of the most beautiful areas in the USA. 

You can really spend an entire week here and still not see everything that is available at this amazing Utah Shakespeare Festival. For more information visit their site.


The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

One of the most beautiful areas of the United States is Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Each summer they have the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and this year it runs from July 10-August 25, 2015. My husband and I, along with friends, attended a performance here several years back of Macbeth (or “the Scottish play”) and it was very well done. Even if you didn’t like Shakespeare, you would want to go just for the experience and scenery. It is billed as “the most scenic venue in the world,” and once you have seen it you will agree. This year’s production is Romeo and Juliet, which is a, of course a tragedy.  They will also be preformingthe non-Shakespeare musical, The Fantasticks.  This is the perfect place to come and experience Shakespeare at its best. The outdoor venue, with Lake Tahoe in the background is really breathtakingly beautiful. 

This Shakespeare Festival began in 1972 on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. After several location and administrative changes, in 1995 the running of the company was taken over by a non-profit group called the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. They still run it today. 

I love their mission statement, which is: "The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is established for the cultural benefit and enjoyment of all residents and visitors to our region. We strive to plan, produce, and advocate the finest cultural events at Lake Tahoe while educating future generations on the importance of including theatre, music, and art in their everyday lives."

In keeping with their mission statement, they offer educational performances, workshops, and summer camps for children and youth groups. 

If you are going to be visiting the Reno/Lake Tahoe area this summer, plan your dates around this festival, and make it part of your experience. For more information about the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, visit their website.