Our Story So Far…

Shakespeare Play On (later to be known as Santa Cruz Shakespeare) was forged in 2013 when the University of California, Santa Cruz felt it could no longer host our predecessor organization, Shakespeare Santa Cruz. A small but intrepid group of community members met to determine how to continue the Shakespeare Festival and all its rich traditions while creating something new and exciting. We began our journey by reaching out to our community, far and wide, to understand and share how our festival brought value to the artistic and social fabric of our community. The people responded by seeding us with the financial and community support necessary to get started. With great dedication we produced a well-received three-play festival in 2014. Emboldened by this success, we developed a five-year strategic plan to guide future growth and great theatre.

Shortly after finishing our strategic plan in March 2015, we learned we needed to find a new performance venue for the 2016 season. This meant we had to find a space and create a new outdoor theatre in little more than a year! All while producing our second summer festival, which we had committed to expand from three to four productions. Again, we asked our community for help.  

The City of Santa Cruz became a new member of our growing family and it has become a critical partner to Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Together we identified land in DeLaveaga Park owned by the City of Santa Cruz and, in just a few short months, agreement was reached to allow SCS to construct an outdoor theatre on that property. With the land secured, our faithful and generous community rallied behind SCS and provided the resources that would create the Audrey Stanley Grove in DeLaveaga Park.

The result? We proudly opened the 2016 Summer Festival in our new home, complete with a new stage, theatre, tech booth, box office, and audience amenities!

Going forward we will focus on strengthening our artistic work, enhancing the audience experience, and deepening our roots in the community.  We are already working towards achieving this vision. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has fueled and shared the journey of Santa Cruz Shakespeare thus far. We invite you to become part of our next adventure, our artistic endeavors, and the burgeoning community that awaits us all.

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