There’s a lot to love about summer in Boulder. The trails aren’t covered in snow anymore, swimming holes finally have enough water for a dip and Shakespeare’s timeless works fill the nights.
Returning for its 61st season, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF) brings five classic plays, including William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Richard III, to CU Boulder stages through Aug. 12.
The Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre and University Theatre once again plays host to the same brilliant performances that have characterized the festival for years. The nation’s second-oldest Shakespeare festival is, however, set to embark on some notable changes this summer season.
If you go
Who: Open to the public
What: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
When: June 8 through Aug. 12
Where: Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre and University Theatre
“Cyrano is no small undertaking for any theatre company—this is one we’ve been preparing for years,” said CSF Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr. “And turning CSF’s deep bench of character actors loose inside the world of You Can’t Take It With You will be a joy to watch. I’ll be there, front row.”
Additionally, CSF will perform Edward III for the first time in its history. While the exact origins of the play remain unknown, many scholars believe it was co-written by Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd.
Summer season attendees will be treated with activities before and after each production. The Hellems Lawn and Shakespeare Gardens are both popular spots for pre-show picnicking, and many productions will be accompanied by early musical performances in the Shakespeare Gardens.
CSF staff experts will also lead free talks about the productions that will be delivered before most shows, indoors and outdoors. After most shows, audience members are invited to stick around for discussions with members of the company at University Theatre and The Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre.
Love’s Labour’s Lost: June 8 to Aug. 12
A lighthearted homage to CSF’s academic settings on the CU Boulder campus, Love’s Labour’s Lost follows four young men who make a pact to concentrate only on learning and swear off love—just as the four loves of their lives wander by. CSF sets this Shakespearean comedy at the turn of the 20th century.
“Love’s Labour’s Lost is the original rom-com,” said Orr. “We haven’t seen it on our stage in 10 years and we can’t wait to revisit it. As with any Shakespeare play, it’ll be interesting to hear what this play has to say to us now.”
Richard III: June 22 to Aug. 11
Shakespeare shares a dark political drama centering on corruption in the government that may feel startlingly relevant to contemporary audiences. The CSF production will explore timely themes surrounding the portrayal and agency of women, whose roles have historically been cut dramatically in productions of the play.
Cyrano de Bergerac: July 6 to Aug. 11
Edmond Rostand’s iconic romantic comedy will be performed under the stars at The Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. CSF will tell one of the greatest love stories of all time: a comedy complete with elaborate swordplay, gorgeous language and a timeless romance.
You Can’t Take It With You: July 20 to Aug. 12
Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, this three-act classic screwball comedy uses a dinner party to present the idea that ambition and success don’t necessarily lead to happiness.
The play premiered on Broadway in 1936 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama one year later; its subsequent film adaptation won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.
Edward III: Aug. 5
This gripping historical play takes audiences back to the beginning of England’s Hundred Years’ War. Part of CSF’s ‘Original Practices’ tradition, Edward III is a unique, one-night-only performance inspired by the stage practices and styles of Shakespeare’s own time.