"Shakespeare Santa Cruz strives to cultivate the imagination, wit, daring, and vision that the greatest playwrights demand of artists and audiences alike."
About Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Shakespeare Santa Cruz is a professional repertory company in residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Our Festival was founded in 1981 and continues to be held annually each summer at UC Santa Cruz. Plays are held indoors on the UCSC Theatre Arts Mainstage and outdoors among the redwoods in the Festival Glen. Bringing in professional actors, directors and designers from throughout the country, the Company's season runs from mid-July through August and features three to four plays presented in repertory. Hailed by USA Today as “one of the nation’s top ten most influential” Shakespeare companies, SSC interprets the works of William Shakespeare through a contemporary lens and introduces our audiences to the newer work of American playwrights.
Since its founding, the company's artistic directors have been Audrey Stanley, Michael Edwards, Danny Scheie, Risa Brainin, Paul Whitworth, and Marco Barricelli. In 1997, Artistic Director Paul Whitworth introduced the annual Winter Holiday season, modeled after the British pantomimes (or “pantos”) of his youth. In keeping with the tradition of Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s fresh takes on the classics, the holiday shows are original works written by playwright Kate Hawley and based on traditional fairy tales and children's literature.
What is a Repertory Company?
True repertory companies are increasingly rare in regional theatre and continue to be an exciting and dynamic way to enjoy multiple plays within a season. Shakespeare Santa Cruz is the only true repertory company in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one of the few true repertory companies left in the country. Within a repertory company the majority of the actors appear in more than one play, often in dramatically diverse roles. In addition, the plays performed alternate from night to night.
In addition to the summer repertory season and the holiday show, Shakespeare Santa Cruz has two performance programs which seek to engage 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 include Lysistratia, The Antipodes, Fools in the Forest, The Mock-Tempest, and the 2008 world premiere of the English language translation of Carlo Goldoni's La Famiglia dell'Antiquarian (The Antiquarian's Family).
Shakespeare to Go is an educational outreach program - and recipient of NEA funding - featuring University of California Santa Cruz Theatre Arts students who tour local schools in the spring performing one-hour versions of one of the full-length plays to be featured in the summer repertory season. Additionally, Shakespeare to Go presents a limited number of free public performances.