Our mission is to promote literacy by entertaining and inspiring our audiences with the power of the classics.
We present traditionally-designed productions of stage, literary, and radio classics, with visually compelling sets and costumes, live music and sound effects, and strong acting.
Our performers, directors, choreographers and designers are both union and non-union professionals. We have worked under the Equity 99-seat theatre plan, casting actors from AEA, SAG and AFTRA, and provided a training ground for young actors from local middle and high schools, and from area colleges and universities, who have all benefited from working side-by-side with seasoned pros.
THE LONG BEACH SHAKESPEARE COMPANY STORY
The Long Beach Shakespeare Company was established in 1990 as the non-profit [501 (c)(3)] theatre arts organization “The-Bard-In-The-Yard.” Its goal was to provide free Shakespeare to the greater Long Beach community, particularly underprivileged audiences, by performing in the parks of Long Beach in the summer.
In 1997, under the artistic direction of Helen Borgers, the company became a full-time operation, performing all over southern and central California throughout the year in schools, churches, museums, Renaissance faires, Girl Scout Camps, Boy Scout meetings, the Challengers Boys and Girls Club, and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, as well as in the parks of Long Beach. The company began a three-year association with the Long Beach Public Corporation for the Arts in their Passport to the Arts program in the Long Beach Unified School District. The company also expanded its repertoire to include classics from the Greeks to early 20th century American authors and playwrights.
The company changed its name to the Long Beach Shakespeare Company (LBSC) in 1999 and began producing an annual free summer festival in the parks of Long Beach, producing two plays in repertory on its own portable two-level Elizabethan stage.
In 2000, LBSC began a two-year partnership with the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, creating and touring Shakespeare workshops for Cerritos and surrounding school districts. LBSC also developed workshops for the Cerritos Arts Center to aid teachers teaching Shakespeare in the classroom.
In addition to producing the free summer festival, LBSC opened its own resident theatre in 2002—the Black Box Theatre in Bixby Knolls. LBSC continued school tours in the greater Long Beach area, but also began giving performances for middle and high school classes in the Black Box Theatre.
In 2004, LBSC moved its summer festival to the front lawn of the Aquarium of the Pacific in downtown Long Beach, expanding from six to eight weekends of performances.
LBSC began a New Writers program In 2005, producing original plays with classical themes by local playwrights.
On February 10th, 2006, LBSC changed the name of its resident Black Box Theatre. It is now the Richard Goad Theatre, named after a generous contributor. In 2007, LBSC’s 9th annual summer festival joined the Long Beach Sea Festival, drawing crowds from Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties. In addition, LBSC partnered with the American Ballet Theatre, Bixby Knolls’ First Fridays, Barnes & Noble, and Gladstone’s Long Beach for promotions, performances and fundraising.
In 2008, LBSC was awarded a huge honor: the Dashiell Hammett estatae agreed to allow us to adapt Hammett’s 1929 classic novel, The Maltese Falcon, for the stage. Our adaptation remains the first and only authorized staged version of the story, and other companies around the country have had to apply to the Hammett literary agents and LBSC for license to perform it.
In May of 2008, LBSC departed from traditional staging and brought Euripides’ great tragedy, The Bacchae, to life as a rock opera with music by Edmund Velasco.
In 2009, new educational programs were developed, beginning with our Summer Drama Camp, and continuing through the present with our free Speaker Series.
2010 saw the addition to the annual schedule of a Celebration of Shakespeare. During the whole month of April (Shakespeare’s birthday month), programming includes radio plays, sonnet readings, themed events, and more, celebrating the influence of the Bard on popular culture.
LBSC opened the Richard Goad Theatre on Halloween night of 2002 with its own adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. For several years following, we produced our own adaptations, until 2008, when we decided to perform Howard Koch’s adaptation, written for Orson Welles. This proved so popular, we’ve been doing it ever since.
In 2011, Mat Kaplan – host of NPR’s Planetary Radio and a 12-year veteran staff member of The Planetary Society – honored us by giving a pre-show presentation for The War of the Worlds on the current state of things on Mars, making references to the interest popular culture has taken in the Red Planet in books, comic books, movies, radio, TV shows, and public broadcasting. Since then, Mat and The Planetary Society have partnered with us each year to share the latest information direct from Mars!
In 2012, LBSC’s 14th Annual Long Beach Shakespeare Festival included a new feature, a pre-show presented by The Young Actors Theatre Workshop from Cubberley School, under the artistic direction of Marie Contreras Romero, Suzette Picazo and Patricia Gagna.
2012 also brought LBSC a strong partner in Dana Leach, from the Lakewood Christian School. Her background in professional and educational theatre, video and television production, and theatre management has created new policies and revenue streams for the company, in addition to her creative and educational contributions.
In 2014, LBSC led the local celebration of William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Anniversary, with a critically-acclaimed production of King Lear. We also inaugurated our Free Speaker Series with lectures from Lloyd Kermode, Co-director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at CSULB, and Louis Fantasia, former Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre's Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute, and current Director of Shakespeare at the Huntington Library.
The plans for 2015 include several landmark celebrations, including performances commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the publication of Sherlock Holmes and the Valley of Fear, and the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. We’ll also present our first indoor productions of Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and Henry V, all of which LBSC has produced outdoors at our festivals, but never in the intimate environment of the Goad Theatre. A Season of Firsts, as well as a Season of Spectacle.
We invite you to join us!
FLEX PASS CARD
The ultimate in flexibility and convenience. This ‘open’ pass is redeemable for 10 tickets to the Richard Goad Theatre. Attend 10 individual performances throughout the season (Jan-Dec 2016), or bring a companion to five performances, or use your pass for one or two family nights out…it is good for any combination amounting to ten tickets. It's up to you! Just call the Theatre at least 48 hours in advance of the performance you would like to attend to reserve your seats. Price: $100
Mini Flex Pass
The Mini pass is $50 for 4 entries to the theatre.
Check the calendar to find out when we're streaming live! Click on the microphone to listen. We offer monthly webcasts and many of our birthday celebrations. If you missed hearing it live, click HERE for our recordings. If you enjoy the live programming, please consider donating to help support future webcasts.
CREATE YOUR DONATION AMOUNT