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July 3, 2006

Classes, tours, lectures add to celebration as Shakespeare Santa Cruz marks 25 years

The play’s the thing, but Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 25th anniversary summer festival offers up more than just great performances.

Photo: Whitworth Shakespeare Santa Cruz artistic director Paul Whitworth will play Henry Higgins in this summer’s production of Pygmalion.
Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Santa Cruz

A variety of engaging new classes, museum exhibits, backstage tours, and free lectures are just some of the activities that will be available this summer to enrich the festival experience.

New this year is a series of Shakespeare-related courses offered through UCSC’s Summer Session--taught by UCSC faculty as well as by visiting SSC company members. Courses will include an introduction to Shakespeare’s work, writing in response to the Bard, developing the range and expressivity of one’s performance voice, Shakespearean acting, and exploring Hamlet’s conundrums (in an online course offered by James Bierman). Registration is available online. (Click on Theater Arts for course listings). 

Beginning July 29, the Museum of Art & History will also present a special retrospective exhibition celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. Titled A Most Rare Vision: Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the First 25 Years, the exhibit will run through November 12 at the museum’s Art Forum Gallery. A companion exhibit, Exits & Entrances, opens to the public at Santa Cruz County Bank’s main branch on July 10 and continues through October 31.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s free Saturday morning backstage tours will continue to offer a sneak peek into the world of costuming, special effects, and the technical aspects of professional theater.  Tours will be held on Saturdays from August 5 to 26 at 11 a.m. While the tours are free, advance reservations are required as space is limited. Call (831) 459-5810 to make reservations

Noon at the Nick is a free lecture series featuring Shakespeare Santa Cruz directors, actors, and designers who share insights into the season’s plays and discuss their craft. The lecture series will be held at noon on July 14 and July 28 at the Nickelodeon Theater, and August 4 at the Museum of Art & History.

Before and after selected performances, audiences are invited to engage in discussions with Shakespeare Santa Cruz directors, designers, and actors about their craft and their creative process in the Talk to the Artists series. The popular Weekend with Shakespeare conference will also present an opportunity to hear well-known scholars and artists share their insights into the genius of Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw.

Weekend with Shakespeare will consist of lectures and discussions exploring the different aspects of this season’s plays. Featured speakers will include Shakespeare scholar and Stanford professor Stephen Orgel, and UCSC professor emeritus John Dizikes with Paul Whitworth, as well as an in-depth question-and-answer section with the actors from the company. The weekend conference runs August 11–13 and will be held on campus. The cost is $25 for adults and $10 for youth. Tickets for performances are not included. To register, call the Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 25th anniversary season features Shakespeare’s King Lear and As You Like It, and George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The plays will be performed in repertory from July 19 through September 3 at the Theater Arts Mainstage and Festival Glen on the UCSC campus. Tickets for all shows are now available. 

For more information about tickets and events related to the festival, visit or call the UCSC Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.

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