CU-Boulder is not a place that goes to rest during the summer. If you’re lucky enough to be here, Boulder’s backyard of open space, combined with campus performances and a multitude of music and arts festivals will offer limitless options to stay busy through the final days of summer.
One of the most significant campus events, taking place from June 6 – Aug. 10 is the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Since 1958, CU-Boulder has been a host for the celebration of Shakespeare’s work through performance, education and community engagement. It is the second oldest Shakespeare festival in the United States, and the Mary Rippon Theater offers a unique ambiance of CU’s campus against the backdrop of the Flatirons. The theater’s very first production, which predates the first year of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, was "Romeo and Juliet" in 1944.
“What we offer that other places can’t offer is this full-blown, sensual experience, and walking across the quad is part of it,” said Clay Evans, public relations director for CU Presents.
Theater-goers are encouraged to enjoy a picnic on the quad and opening acts of entertainment, like minstrel singers or a Shakespeare rock band. One focus of the festival is to make the performances and activities enjoyable for anyone, of any age or background.
For example, "The Tempest," directed by Geoffrey Kent who also directed last year’s "Midsummer Night’s Dream," features a spectacle of trapeze artists, puppets, young lovers and magic. Other performances lined up for the summer are "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "I Hate Hamlet," "Henry IV Part 1" and "Henry IV Part 2," offering a collection of traditional Shakespearian theater and modern takes on plays written by or about Shakespeare.
But the performing arts in Boulder this summer are not limited to Shakespeare. ATLAS’s downstairs Black Box theater will host CU Now’s world premiere of selected scenes from opera, “The Master,” on June 13 at 7:30 p.m., June 15 at 2 p.m., and on June 14, audience members may attend a live recording session of the entire work. From July 31 - Aug. 16, “square product theatre,” an alternative Boulder theater company, will perform the world premiere of "SLAB," an adaptation of Selah Saterstrom’s novel to be published in spring 2015. The story is about a Mississippi woman and the memories of her life, after losing everything to Hurricane Katrina.
“One of our goals is to keep our ticket prices as low as possible so that everyone in the community has the opportunity to see theater,” said Emily K. Harrison, founder and producing artistic director of “square product theatre.” Harrison is also a CU-Boulder alumna and instructor at Naropa University and CU-Boulder. She encourages students to see the performance for its profound social messages, relatable narratives and the fusion of sound, video and performance. There will be two-for-one ticket prices on Thursdays.
Also on campus:
- The CU Museum of Natural History hosts a series of workshops for kids this summer (like “Oceans of Life” and “Insect Symmetry”). Additionally, summer hours will remain the same for anyone who’d like to pass through. The museum is currently showcasing the "2014 Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Annual Members Exhibit," the work of artists who emphasize accuracy in their portrayal of natural images. Other exhibits include over 40 pairs of hand-made moccasins and a collection of Japanese Samurai swords in their “Anthropology Hall,” located downstairs.
- Fiske Planetarium’s full dome and laser shows will be featured throughout the entire summer, including matinees Tues.-Thurs. and Sat.-Sun. Showings include "Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity," "Colorado Skies, Stars and Lasers" and several more.
- The Sommers-Bausch Observatory offers Friday night "open houses" throughout the summer. Visitors are invited to use the observatory's telescopes to view the night sky. Admission is free.
- The Connection, UMC’s bowling alley and billiards hall, will have game specials to accompany showings of the FIFA Worlds Cup games, like half-priced bowling or billiards. Without FIFA, specials already run at $1 per person per game and $1 per hour to play pool from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Mon.-Fri. From 2 - 5 p.m. Mon. - Fri., games are half-priced.
- Macky Auditorium will host the “Unreasonable Launchpad” on June 13 at 6 p.m., with 11 entrepreneurs who will discuss some of the world’s greatest problems, solutions and plans to define progress. On June 23, Macky hosts the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS), which invites scholars from a range of disciplines in the learning sciences and will stress the theme “Learning and Becoming in Practice.” Ticket and registration information.
- Check all other CU happenings on the CU-Boulder Events Calendar.
For those looking for hiking opportunities, including local trails that summit Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak, Flagstaff and Mt. Santitas, and Chautauqua Park, check Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks page.
Throughout the summer, the Colorado Chautauqua Association hosts a series of summer concerts in its historic auditorium. Featured artists include Andrew Bird & The Hands of Glory, B.B. King, Bela Fleck & Brooklyn Rider and many more. Ticket prices range from $25-$60, and individuals are welcome to enjoy the second hand acoustics by lounging on the lawn outside. Chautauqua Auditorium will also host the Colorado Music Festival, which starts on June 29 and will feature world class conductors, orchestra professionals and Tuesday night “mash-ups” of popular music with orchestra.
Other Boulder events occurring throughout the summer include poetry readings and open mic. nights at the Laughing Goat on Pearl Street and Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café on the Hill. Every Wednesday night, the city of Boulder will feature live music for its “Bands on the Bricks” series on the Pearl Street Mall with musicians like The Samples, Hazel Miller Band and Mountain Standard Time. There will also be live music every Saturday night on the 29th Street Mall from 7 -10 p.m. The Boulder Farmer’s Market is every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening.
Other Boulder summer festivals:
- The International Festival: June 20 – 22, celebrating international dance, craft and tradition
- Boulder Festival of the Arts on 29th Street: July 13-14
- Open Arts Fest: July 19-20, showing the work of local and national artists with over 100 booths on the Pearl Street Mall. OpenArtsFest.org
- Home Town Fair: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, a book-end to summer, with performances at the Band Shell, a Chili Inferno Cook-Off, Classic Car Show and more.
Photo credit: University of Colorado.