Shakespeare in the Community

Santa Cruz Shakespeare offers many events throughout the year that provide educational opportunities for the Santa Cruz Community. SCS commits to maintain a consistent engagement with all our audience members, and remain dedicated to developing dynamic, new programs that will delight and challenge our community, both artistically and intellectually.

Key Programs in the Community:

Weekend with Shakespeare & Educator's Day

One weekend in August, SCS teams up with Shakespeare Workshop, a collaboration of faculty and students at UCSC, to host a symposium about the Shakespeare plays in our season. Performances of the plays are enhanced by panel discussions, lectures by esteemed drama and literature scholars, hands-on workshops with artists, and open-forum discussions. In addition, “Educator’s Day” offers a one-day training workshop to provide educators the tools, strategies, and lesson plans through visceral experiences in the instruction of Shakespeare.

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Don Rothman Talkbacks

Our third preview performance features a pre-show discussion with the director and designers of a production to learn about the genesis and evolution of the/their artistic concept.

  • The 39 Steps – Friday, July 7
  • Measure for Measure – Thursday, July 20
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona – Thursday, August 3

Every Saturday matinee in August, post-show discussions bring audience members face to face with their favorite actors to ask questions about the performance and the details of the production they have just enjoyed.

  • Saturday, August 5 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Saturday, August 12 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Saturday, August 19 – The 39 Steps
  • Saturday, August 26 – Measure for Measure

Bookshop Santa Cruz Preview Night

Tuesday, June 6 at 7pm

Join Artistic Director Mike Ryan for a preview of the 2017 Summer Season at the Audrey Stanley Grove. We’ll discuss the season’s plays, including artistic content and production influences, and share some early design ideas including costume rendering and a set model.


Free Talks at the Santa Cruz Public Libraries

Join our season’s dramaturgs for discussions about the season’s productions! Gain insight in to the play prior to seeing them in The Grove.

  • Tuesday, July 11 – The 39 Steps featuring dramaturg Maria Frangos and local film critic and author Lisa Jensen in conversation about the Hitchcock thriller and our stage adaptation.
    • Location: Downtown Library Branch, Santa Cruz, 6:30pm
  • Thursday, July 13 – Measure for Measure
    featuring Michael Warren, Professor Warren is emeritus professor of literature at UCSC and Textual Consultant and Head of Dramaturgy to Santa Cruz Shakespeare.

    • Location: Scotts Valley Branch, 7pm
  • Tuesday, July 25 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona featuring dramaturg Ariane Helou
    • Location: Aptos Branch, 7pm

Noon at the Nick

Held on Fridays at noon at the Nickelodeon Theatre in downtown Santa Cruz, Noon at the Nick is a series of brown bag lunch discussions that bring community members together with artists from each of the season’s productions for discussions about the artistic process and a sneak peak at what each production has in store.

  • The 39 Steps – Friday, July 7
  • Measure for Measure – Friday, July 21
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona – Friday, August 4
  • Candide – Friday, August 18

Free Youth Tickets

Each year, SCS provides a free groundling ticket to one of its Shakespeare plays to audience members 18 and younger with the purchase of any adult groundling ticket. The 2017 Season free ticket production is The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Free Seats for Community Organizations

As a way of saying “thank you” to all the hard-working community organizations in Santa Cruz County, SCS provides six free tickets each performance to social service organizations and other non-profits as a way of saying thank you for the important work they do for the Santa Cruz Community. This year, our goal is to give away over 300 tickets. If you would like to suggest an organization or receive tickets, please email us. We’d love to thank you for all you do!


Every year, SCS hires a group of 12 – 20 interns in all areas of production, including acting, directing, stage management, administration, and design. Interns are undergraduates or immediate post-grads who spend the summer working beside master artisans throughout the SCS season, participate in master classes with seasoned artists, and produce their own “Fringe” production on the outdoor stage. Our interns hail from both East and West Coasts, from undergrad and graduate theatre training programs, and two very talented high school students from Santa Cruz area high schools. Visit our internship page for more information.