The Santa Cruz County Actors’ Theatre (1001 Center St., 831/425-7529, www.actorssc.org) acts as Santa Cruz’s permanent local theater company. The Actors’ Theatre does it all: performs a subscription season, holds theater arts workshops, sponsors playwriting contests for kids and adults, and stages improv shows. All shows at this low-cost theater are contemporary works, including the full production series plays.
But the most exciting (though not necessarily the highest quality) shows you can see here are the new works festivals featuring completely new plays, mostly by local authors, which have won Actors’ Theatre contests. If one of these, especially the “Eight Tens at Eight,” appears during your stay, consider getting tickets so you can see something completely different.
If you prefer historic theater to modern, UCSC puts on an annual summer Shakespeare festival: Shakespeare Santa Cruz (831/459-2121, http://shakespearesantacruz.org, adults $32–44, seniors/students $29, children $18). This six-week festival usually runs in the second half of July and through August. Venues both sit on the UCSC campus, one indoor at the Theatre Arts Mainstage (1156 High St.) and the other out in the redwood forests in the Festival Glen (Meyer Dr.).
Each year the festival puts up at least two Shakespeare plays—2008 selections included Romeo and Juliet and All’s Well That Ends Well—plus at least one other production (often a more contemporary play). At the outdoor glen, audience members are encouraged to bring their own picnics. This can make for the perfect romantic date, or a fun outing for the whole family.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition