Shakespeare

Video by Aean Mcmullin

Imagine an evening of Shakespeare in an outdoor amphitheater, watching the sun set over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as you enjoy a family picnic on the lawn.

Shakespeare performances are included in season tickets, and tickets to single performances are available as well. Put these performances on your 2016 calendar now!

June-July 2016

Shakespeare Festival—Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts at Historic Jones TheaterA Taste of Shakespeare: a fundraiser with donations accepted. Enjoy a preview of our Shakespeare performances, meet the actors and get an overview of the plays. Join the Fun!

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 p.m.
Donations accepted; not included in season ticket

Shakespeare in the Sangres: Outdoor Theater at Its Best. Experience two Shakespeare comedies in revolving repertory in our beautiful outdoor amphitheater behind the Jones Theater in Westcliffe, Colorado. Guests are encouraged to arrive early, bring blankets and/or chairs to sit on and a picnic. The park opens one hour before show time.

*Love’s Labour’s Lost
Love’s Labour’s Lost is one of William Shakespeare’s early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth I. It is a play of witty banter and little plot, written during the early part of Shakespeare’s literary career, when his focus was on fancy conceits and the playful nature of love. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to forswear the company of women for three years of study and fasting, and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of Aquitaine and her ladies. In an untraditional ending for a comedy, the play closes with the death of the Princess’s father, and all weddings are delayed for a year. The play draws on themes of masculine love and desire, reckoning and rationalization, and reality versus fantasy

Fridays, June 17 and July 1, at 6:30 p.m., Sundays, June 19 and July 3, at 2:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m.

Adults, $20; students (18 and under) and active military, $10; kids (12 and under), $5. Included in season ticket. Groups of 8 or more, 10% discount. Must be booked together and paid in advance.

*King Lear
King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of the title character, after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him, bringing tragic consequences for all. Derived from the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king, the play has been widely adapted for the stage and motion pictures, with the title role coveted by many of the world’s most accomplished actors. Since the 19th century Shakespeare’s original version has been regarded as one of his supreme achievements. The tragedy is particularly noted for its probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.

Saturdays, June 18 and July 2; and Friday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, June 26, at 2:00 p.m.

Adults, $20; students (18 and under) and active military, $10; kids (12 and under), $5. Included in season ticket. Groups of 8 or more, 10% discount. Must be booked together and paid in advance.


Shakespeare is happening in Westcliffe, Colorado.
Actor Chris Tabb has your invitation!


Shakespeare in the Sangres Festival
Beginnings in Westcliffe, Colorado

by Christopher Tabb

2007—The Tempest
2008—Romeo & Juliet and Taming of the Shrew
2009—Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night
2010—Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth
2011—Henry IV, Part One, and As You Like It
2012—Lady’s Not For Burning (Fry) and Measure for Measure
2013—Tartuffe (Molière) and Two Gentlemen of Verona
2014—The Imaginary Invalid (Molière) and Comedy of Errors
2015—A Midsummer Night’s Dream
and Merry Wives of Windsor

The impetus for the Shakespeare in the Sangres Festival originated from a confluence of circumstances. In 2003, after ten years of producing live theater, Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts (WCPA) at the Historic Jones Theater expanded the facility with the building of Studio 2. This addition provided the legitimate opportunity to attract talented college interns, professional actors, and directors, and thus to fulfill Executive and Artistic Director Anne Kimbell Relph’s creative vision of presenting live theater in this lively and enchantingly small, Colorado mountain town.

I joined the WCPA while I was teaching for Denver Public Schools. As a Colorado native, I must admit that I had never heard of Westcliffe. With a summer off from teaching drama, I agreed to journey to Westcliffe and play a role in a production of “Bus Stop.” Returning each summer following, Anne and I watched the beautiful outdoor park develop on two acres behind the theater. Created by landscape architect Garett Carlson, the Amphitheater in the Park with its grassy lawn for audiences and its stunning views of the Sangres was completed that summer. We decided that the Amphitheater, with its rocky grotto as a background, would be a perfect venue for a Shakespeare Festival and that taking advantage of the grotto, the theater could produce The Tempest as its first production the following summer.

We started the festival with one production. Local actor Steve Miller embraced the role as Prospero in The Tempest. Standing atop the cave (a perfect venue for The Tempest) on opening night, a storm rolled in, just as Prospero called for. The production of The Tempest was a huge success.

We knew we had something to build on. From the success of Tempest, I called a meeting of the core actors and asked if we might commit to doing two Shakespeare plays at the same time and creating a festival. Everyone agreed. The next season we produced Romeo & Juliet and Taming of the Shrew.

Everything blossomed from there. Audiences were enthralled with both the venue and the product. With the addition of Dan Hiester, an award-winning director from Denver, the festival gained greater recognition. Dan is the “ambassador” of the festival, directing and acting in productions while he greets the audience in costume as they enter the venue.

Since then, we seem to reflect our elements. Producing outdoor theater presents many challenges. Thankfully, we now have sufficient lighting and sound. Yet, the venue, curtained at sunset, always provides surprises. On opening night of Macbeth, as the witches called for “toil and trouble” atop the amphitheater cave a windy storm brushed in as though actually summoned by them. We performed during the haze and smoke of fires nearby and anticipate performing for the Ride the Rockies destination folk in 2015.

While our Shakespeare in the Sangres Festival may be still small in nature, our ambition remains large. Providing the opportunity for young actors to hone their craft as they conduct a Creativity Camp for aspiring youth reflects the WCPA’s commitment to the art of Theater and the community in which it thrives.