Summer is a time for outdoor theatre festivals in Los Angeles, most of which focus on Shakespeare and other classics. Some theatre companies perform theatre in public parks, while others have permanent venues. Some are free, while others have a comparatively hefty ticket price. LA's summer theatre festivals are listed here according to when in the season they begin, with the earliest ones usually starting at the beginning of June.
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Summer Repertory Season
This annual summer season of Shakespeare and the Classics is set in a rustic, outdoor amphitheatre located in a natural canyon ravine. Picnickers are welcome. The 2016 season at Theatricum includes Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Titus Andronicus, plus Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid and the world premiere of Tom, adapted by Ellen Greer from Uncle Tom's Cabin.
When: June - October, various times
Where: Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga
Cost: $25-$39.50, kids $10
Info: 310-455-3723, www.theatricum.com
Shakespeare by the Sea Performances
This annual series of performances of Shakespeare is set in an outdoor theater overlooking the Pacific Ocean as well as various locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Feel free to bring a picnic, a blanket, chairs, and dress warmly to enjoy an evening of lively theater under the night sky. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. This year's performances are Othello and Cymbeline
When: Mid-June to Mid-August 7:30 p.m. pre-show, 8:00 p.m. show, Sundays 7 pm
Where: Point Fermin Park, 807 Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro and other locations throughout LA and Orange County
Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park
The internationally recognized Independent Shakespeare Co. brings several of Shakespeare's works back to Griffith Park for a summer season of free outdoor performances. Bring a picnic, a blanket, your family and friends, and enjoy a perfect evening at the theater in the woods. ISC will be performing Richard III and The Tempest.
When: End of June to End of August Thurs - Sun and some Wednesdays 7:00 p.m.
Where: Festival Stage, Griffith Park Old Zoo, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, LA 90027
Info: 818-710-6306, www.iscla.org
La Canada Flintridge Shakespeare Festival
The La Canada Flintridge Shakespeare Festival is part Shakespeare and part original works inspired by Shakespeare.
When: End of June through July, Thurs - Sun 8:00 p.m. (2016 TBA)
Where: Byrnes Amphitheater, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, (former Biltmore Hotel) 440 St. Katherine Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Cost: $12-$29, festival passes available
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is moving this summer to the Main Stage on the Quad at Santa Monica College and extending their season. The professional company will be performing Twelfth Night and the Apprentice company will be performing A Midsummer Night's Dream.
When: End of June through August
Where: Santa Monica College Theatre Arts Bldg, 1900 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Cost: $10-$80, Free for active military, veterans and their guests (4 total per family while they last, reservations required 1 week in advance) $1 service fee per ticket, 3.5% credit card service fee.
Shakespeare Orange County's Summer Season
Orange County's professional classical theatre company presents Shakespeare and other classics "Under the Stars," at the Festival Amphitheatre in Garden Grove. Free parking. Picnic Areas Available. This season includes Hamlet, The Pirates of Penzance, the original Shakespearean Vaudeville, Sonnets, Songs, and Sorry Will’s Been Dead for 400 Years and a special 15th Anniversary of 9/11 Season Finale.
When: Mid-July through September, Fri-Sat, some Thursdays
Where: Festival Amphitheatre, 12762 Main Street, Garden Grove
Ask about "PAY WHAT YOU WILL THURSDAYS."
Info: 714-590-1575 www.shakespeareoc.org
Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is part of the LA SummerFest at Rivendale, located at the entrance to Towsley Canyon Park in the city of Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County. This year's production is an indie rock version of Twelfth Night.
When: Mid-July through the first weekend in August
Where: 24255 the Old Rd Santa Clarita, CA 91321-3922
Info: (661) 799-3378, scshakespearefest.org
Culver City Summer in the Park
Actor's Gang presents family friendly far out adaptations of Shakespeare's classics Saturday and Sunday mornings in Culver City's Media Park.
When: Weekends in August
Where: Media Park, 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 (corner of Culver next to the Ivy Substation)
Info: 310-838-GANG (310-838-4264), www.theactorsgang.com
West Hollywood Summer Performing Arts Series with Classic Theatre Lab
The Classic Theatre Lab's free theatre performances at Kings Road Park will be performing The Country Wife by William Wycherley - a Restoration comedy written in 1675. Reservations are recommended.
When: Moved to September this year due to park renovations.
Where: Kings Road Park, 1000 N Kings Rd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Info & Reservations: (323) 960-5691, www.classicaltheatrelab.org
This information was accurate at the time of publication. Please check with venues for the most current information.