The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival brings the Bard's words and ideas to life against the backdrop of Lake Tahoe's shores. Drawing more than 30,000 people to Sand Harbor each July and August, the festival presents classic Shakespeare works as well as contemporary works and musical performances.
Recent playbills have featured Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure. Past performances include Shakespeare's famous works—Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Othello—as well as less widely known plays. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the festival also features the Urban Village Music Series. The series provides a different type of entertainment experience, with music varying from the Reno Philharmonic to blues and jazz.
The festival began in 1972. The New Shakespeare Company presented its first performances at Sugar Pine Point State Park on Lake Tahoe's west shore. The festival continued at the state park until 1975, moving due to scheduling conflicts at Sugar Pine Point's Ehrman Mansion, where the performances were held.
In 1976, the New Shakespeare Company and the Nevada Division of State Parks agreed to hold the performances at Sand Harbor on Tahoe's east shore, about thirty miles away from the original location. A stage was built with more than $1,000 in materials and labor. The first festival at Sand Harbor, under the management of the Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park, drew more than 500 people to each of its twelve performances.
In 1982, the North Tahoe Fine Arts Council took over the festival. Management changed hands again when the council ceased operation and the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors and Convention Bureau was selected to manage the festival.
In 1995, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival became a nonprofit group. It is a part of the Parasol Foundation's Community Services Center Program. Under the program, the festival shares a facility with other nonprofits in North Lake Tahoe and receives benefits and other services.
The group constructed the Warren Edward Trepp Stage, completely funded by private donations. The new stage facility cost $2 million and was dedicated during the 2000 season. The stage has five levels of audience seating: Premium, Lower Gallery Reserved, and Upper Gallery. Tickets prices differ depending on the level. Just above the Upper Gallery is a lookout where visitors have a panoramic view of the lake.
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival also features children's performances and programs.
The D. G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program offers free matinee performances around the Reno-Tahoe-Truckee region. Actors in the festival present a one-hour interactive performance to introduce children to Shakespeare. The performances are based on the plays that are a part of that season's festival.
InterACT is a series of theater and acting workshops brought to schools and youth clubs throughout Nevada and northern California. The workshops can run from one day to one week and are available from February to June. They focus on themes from Shakespeare's works and the theater world. The workshops focus on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, or Much Ado About Nothing.
A Midsummer's Camp allows children to explore the history and language of Shakespeare. Campers receive training in character building, voice, and acting techniques by working on scenes from different Shakespeare plays. The camps are held in one- and two-week sessions in August.
None at this time.