Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF) is one of the most famous such festivals in the world and is highly regarded by experts in the field of Shakespearean literature. In fact, in 1992, CSF was named one of the top Shakespeare festivals in the nation by TIME Magazine. And later that same year, the Festival was given the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Denver Drama Critic's Circle Award for "Best Season for a Theatre Company."
The purpose of the festival is to provide meaning, expand understanding and deepen appreciation of Shakespeare's texts—through performances, workshops and lectures. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is tremendously successful and draws as many as 40,000 audience members each season.
The festival began in 1958 with productions of Julius Caesar, Hamlet and The Taming of a Shrew. In 1975, with the production of Cymbeline, the CSF became the seventh theatre in the world to complete the entire Shakespearean canon of 37 plays.
CSF is much more than a series of plays. There are also a number of other CSF programs that accompany the festival, including a sequence of courses called Shakespeare in Production; and Prologue, which is an informal introduction to the evening’s performance by CSF staff members. There are also Green Show activities, a free Actors' Talkback series, and school outreach programs.
The school outreach program is called "Living Shakespeare." This program is seen by about 5000 students and teachers each year, and has given over 600 performances throughout Colorado public schools since 1991.
CSF offers community programs as well, including the "Classics 101" discussion series hosted by the Boulder Public Library, as well as the "Director and Designer" presentations, wherein the public gets and inside view of the production process that takes place before each season opens.
The 2011 season will have a distinct Russian flair to it. Plays will include "The Inspector General," a 19th century comedy by Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol. This play will be staged indoors on the University Mainstage, and will include a handful of bi-lingual performances, and a team of Russian theater artists will travel to Boulder to helm the show.
The other plays that will show this season are Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" and "Romeo and Juliet,” and an adaptation of the novella "The Little Prince." Fans of the festival will be glad to hear that funding has allowed the installation of a full amplification system at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre that will be implemented in time for the 2011 season.