According to the Folger Shakepeare Library, during Shakespeare’s time, public theaters were open-roofed playhouses packed with spectators who paid a penny or less to enter. All summer, L.A. follows that tradition, offering free or reasonably priced performances of Shakespeare’s plays at outdoor venues across the county.
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
To experience the Bard’s masterworks in an enchanted wooded setting, head to Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon. During the summer, weekend see performances of a A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew in the theater’s outdoor amphitheater.
Shakespeare by the Sea
In San Pedro, Shakespeare by the Sea kicks off its 2013 summer season at Point Fermin Park with All’s Well That Ends Well, opening June 6, and King John, opening June 13. Performances run through August 10 and are free for all. Bring blankets and cushions—the chilly waterside venue offers bench seating.
Independent Shakespeare Company
On June 27 and continuing through July 21, the Independent Shakespeare Company’s popular Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival returns with Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, followed by Shakespeare’s Macbeth the following weekend. Pack a picnic and plan to arrive early for prime blanket placement.
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
See the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles the classic perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the stars through July 28, at the West LA VA’s Japanese Garden, which mirrors the setting in this popular Shakespeare work. Picnicking is welcome before the performance.
Adapted from Summer Lovin’ by Suzanne Ennis in the June 2013 issue of Where Los Angeles Magazine.