Shakespeare & Co. was founded as an outdoor theater in 1976 by director George Franklin Wade, and can claim to be “the longest-running outdoor classical repertory theater” in Minnesota.
Now, 39 years later, the tradition continues at the outdoor theater complex of Century College’s West Campus as the troupe embark on their 40th season. Members of the community staff the company and bring Shakespeare to life for audiences in the family-friendly setting. Guests watch as Hamlet avenges his father, or as the land of Illyria gets turned upside down in Twelfth Night, all from blankets or lawn chairs on the grass as they enjoy a picnic meal. The goal of the theater is to recreate the informal atmosphere that could have been found in Elizabethan London, when the commoners would pile into the theater to see a show. During Shakespeare & Co. performances, children are free to run and play in the grass, and audience members are invited to walk around campus.
To celebrate a new season, the theater is performing three very different plays: Twelfth Night, Hamlet and The Miser. The season opens with Twelfth Night, a comedy of mistaken identities.
Outdoor Theatre Complex
Century College West Campus
3300 Century Ave. N.
White Bear Lake
Twelfth Night: July 4, 17, 25; August 2
Hamlet: July 3, 5, 11, 19, 24; August 1
The Miser: July 10, 12, 18, 26, 31
Friday & Saturday shows: 7 p.m.
Sunday shows: 6 p.m.
Tickets: $15 adults, $13 seniors, children under 12 free