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 2018 calendar now!

June/July

*Shakespeare in the Sangres: Outdoor Theater at Its Best
June 15–July 1, 2018

WCPA presents a play each evening in our beautiful outdoor amphitheater behind the Jones Theater in Westcliffe, Colorado. Experience this Shakespeare production in a repertory theater setting. Guests are encouraged to arrive early, bring blankets and/or chairs to sit on and a picnic. The park opens at 5:30 for picnicking.


*The Tempest
By William Shakespeare

Fridays, June 15 and 22, 6:30 p.m.
Saturdays. June 16 and 23, 6:30 p.m.
Sundays, June 17 and 24, 2:00 p.m.

Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, and his teenage daughter, Miranda, live on a remote island where they have been stranded for the past twelve years. Their only companions are Ariel, a magical spirit enslaved by Prospero, and Caliban, a native of the island who is also enslaved by Prospero. Prospero was originally Duke of Milan, but his position was usurped by his brother Antonio, possibly with the consent of King Alonso of Naples and Alonso’s brother Sebastian. Wrongly accused and exiled for twelve years, Prospero sets out for revenge. However, he finds redemption in the process.

The play opens with Antonio, Alonso, and several of their retainers on a ship in a great storm, the titular tempest. Unbeknownst to them, the storm is the work of Prospero, who aims to shipwreck them on his island. Once they are washed ashore, Prospero plans to take revenge on his foes and regain his position as Duke of Milan. Eventually, through magic, intimidation, and trickery, Prospero succeeds in his plans. Prospero is restored to his dukedom, brings about the revelation of Antonio’s betrayal, and secures the marriage of Miranda to King Alonso’s son, Prince Ferdinand.

The Tempest was written in the early 1600s. Both magical and moving, Shakespeare’s masterpiece questions what it means to love and to forgive. It’s a tale that the whole family will enjoy.

Prospero Dan Hiester
Miranda Jintong Yu
Antonio Allen Brunke
Alonso Dan Lindvig
Ariel Holly Wenger, McKenzie Huffman
Caliban Chris Tabb
Ferdinand Michael Batson
Gonzalo Charlie French, Jim Fitch
Sebastian Charlie Etchison
Stefano Tyler Flavin
Trinkulo Cole Johnson
Islanders Elliot Jackson, Wulfgar Parmenter, Clif Loucks

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. Groups must be booked together and paid in advance.


*The Miser
By Molière

The plot offers the classic conflict of love and money. The miser Harpagon wishes his daughter Elise to marry a wealthy old man, Anselme, who will accept her without a dowry, but she loves the penniless Valère. Harpagon himself has set his eye on young, impoverished Mariane, whom his son Cléante also loves. Much of the play’s action focuses on Harpagon’s stinginess. Valère and Mariane are revealed to be Anselme’s long-lost children, and they are happily paired with the miser’s son and daughter by the play’s end, after Harpagon insists that Anselme pay for both weddings.

Although The Miser is usually considered to be a comedy, its tone is one of absurdity and incongruity rather than of gaiety. The play, based on the Aulularia of Roman comic playwright Plautus, recasts the ancient comic figure of the miser who is inhuman in his worship of money and all too human in his need for respect and affection.

Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 1, 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. Groups must be booked together and paid in advance.


Shakespeare in the Sangres Festival

Beginnings in Westcliffe, Colorado
by Chris Tabb

2007—The Tempest
2008—Romeo and 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
2016—Love’s Labour’s Lost and King Lear
2017—Romeo and Juliet

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.