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Shakespeare Santa Cruz Summer Festival: Repertory Company Acclaimed by USA Today as One of Top Ten

Published by Pat Mcthune

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The Shakespeare Santa Cruz Summer Festival, founded in 1981, is held annually at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The artistic director auditions and hires professional actors, directors and designers from throughout the country.

USA Today proclaims this company as “one of the nation’s top ten most influential” Shakespeare companies. Shakespeare Santa Cruz interprets the works of William Shakespeare with an “outside the box” contemporary look and feel. The season runs from mid-July through August, featuring three to four plays presented in repertory. During the season, the audience is also introduced to the work of other American playwrights.

Since its beginning, the artistic directors have been Audrey Stanley, Michael Edwards, Danny Scheie, Risa Brainin, Paul Whitworth and Marco Barricelli.

Educational Programs

In addition to the summer repertory season, Shakespeare Santa Cruz has two performance programs which connect student actors with Shakespearean and other classical texts—the summer Fringe show and the Shakespeare to Go program.

The Fringe show is an opportunity for the summer company’s acting interns to perform their own production in the Glen two nights each summer. Past productions have included The Fools in the Forest, The Mock-Tempest and the world premiere of The Antiquarian’s Family.

Shakespeare to Go is a recipient of NEA/Arts Midwest funding, as well as the Monterey Peninsula Foundation Youth Fund and Granite Construction of Santa Cruz. This educational outreach program features University of California Santa Cruz Theatre Arts students who tour local schools each spring, performing one-hour versions of a play to be featured in the summer season. Additionally, Shakespeare to Go presents a number of free public performances.

During the “Shakes to Go” season, Midsummer Night’s Dream will be directed by Mike Ryan, Shakespeare Santa Cruz core company member.

Repertory Company Delights Audiences

Shakespeare Santa Cruz is one of the only true repertory theatre companies in Northern California. True repertory companies, rare in regional theater, offer a stirring and innovative way to enjoy various plays within a season. The majority of the actors appear in more than one play, usually in entirely diverse roles, alternating performances from night to night.

Summer Season – July 21 – August 30

Artistic Director Marco Barricelli announces the season – a slate of three plays exploring the themes of politics, power, trust, and the time-honored traditions of storytelling – stating, “It’s going to be an exciting, wild ride.”

  • William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
  • Donald Margulies’ Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures Of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself)

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