David Stears recites the "Alas Poor Yorick" scene from Hamlet by William Shakespeare in the Black Box Theater at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons in Valencia. Dan Watson/The Signal

Summer Theater Festival expands season’s events

The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is back with various events throughout the summer.

The festival began as Shakespeare in the Park 29 years ago, and has now evolved into a summer-long summer theater festival with the help of Santa Clarita Shakespeare, a nonprofit dedicated to providing theater for all, according to founder David Stears.

“We’re pretty excited,” Stears said. “It used to be just free Shakespeare, and we’ve expanded.

We didn’t want to lose that festival feeling, so we’ve gone back to our roots. Eventually, we’re working our way to a full professional summer theater festival.”

Now, the festival includes free performances of the bard’s tale, spotlight concerts, special events, as well as summer classes, with all of the proceeds going toward supporting Santa Clarita Shakespeare, Stears added.

The Induction of the Court of the Lord Chamberlain

The season begins with The Induction of the Court of the Lord Chamberlain, honoring two arts patrons in the community, on Friday, July 12.

The event celebrates the opening of the ninth season of the festival with dinner, wine and music, and is a good preview of the rest of the summer’s events, according to Stears.

This year, two of the city’s art commissioners, Susan Shapiro and Michael Millar, will be inducted into the Court of the Lord Chamberlain to recognize their contributions in support of the arts, Stears added.

In addition to the inductees, a special recognition is scheduled to be presented for Dr. Alan Barbakow, a long-time community art patron, as well as founding member and president of the Santa Clarita Arts Council, who died Friday, July 5. 

The induction is scheduled 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, at The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway.

The Gift of Song Concerts

The Gift of Song, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring young performers with music and song, will be hosting two special concerts with founder Leslie Berra on July 13-14.

Both concerts will be held at The MAIN in Newhall, the first being a Red Carpet Revue with broadway favorites, followed by the Gift of Song Showcase Series with a special performance by more than 20 young and local vocal talents.

All proceeds from these concerts will go to support the Educational Outreach Program, which provides free and low-cost programming to local schools, according to event organizers.

Red Carpet Revue is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, while the Gift of Song Showcase Series is at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, both at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main St. in Newhall.

“Molière’s Tartuffe”

This comedic play was written by Molière in 1664 and almost immediately censored, leading to the use of the word “tartuffe” to describe a hypocrite who feigns religious virtue.

This updated Tartuffe examines the evil men can commit in doing so and dangers to those who believe them, despite evidence to the contrary, according to event organizers.

The “Molière’s Tartuffe” play is scheduled to run Friday, July 19, at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, July 21 and 28, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main St. in Newhall.

Free Summer Shakespeare: “Julius Caesar”

Free Shakespeare is one of the oldest cultural events in the community and will be continuing with this festival season with “Julius Caesar,” directed by Erin McBride Africa, Stears said.

“Julius Caesar” was written based on true events and is still considered one of the most relevant of Shakespeare’s plays, depicting the struggle for power and public manipulation.

“Julius Caesar” is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. Aug. 2-4 at the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts, located at 24600 Walnut St.

Children’s Summer Puppet Class

This four-week workshop, run by puppet master and animator Steve Troop, combines the art of puppet making with the skills of performing, minus any fear of stage fright.

“Children get to design, create and craft their own puppet, then learn how to use those puppets,” Stears said.

All necessary supplies are included, and after building their puppet, students will learn acting and improv techniques to help bring their puppets to life for a performance at the end of the course, according to event organizers.

The class is open to children ages 9 to 16, and is scheduled to run Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon from July 9 through Aug. 1 at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main St. in Newhall.

For more information about any of the season’s events, visit scshakespearefest.org.

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