Preview: Sacramento Shakespeare Festival

Sacramento Shakespeare Festival: Rotating repertory of Twelfth Night and Shakespeare in Love; June 28 through July 28; $16-$20; Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center, 3835 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 558-2173;

The first festival highlighting Shakespeare plays is traced back to the late 1800s in England. The annual staging of summer Shakespeare shows in the U.S. began in 1935 with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Locally, the three largest Shakespeare festivals—Sacramento, Davis and Lake Tahoe—all follow the same tradition of offering plays in repertory, of staging them Elizabethan-style and of holding the plays in the same location every year.

However, this year the 50-year-old Sacramento Shakespeare Festival is breaking one of those traditions by moving its plays (Twelfth Night and Shakespeare in Love this year) from their long-established outdoor Land Park Amphitheater, where they’ve been for the last 34 years, to inside the Sacramento City College auditorium.

This will be a big change for the Sacramento summer crowd that is used to picnicking and play-watching under the stars. But no need to panic, says Sacramento Shakespeare Festival coordinator Luther Hanson, since the shift indoors is temporary while the Land Park Amphitheater undergoes renovations.

“There’ll still be a picnic area outside the doors with food trucks nearby, a lowered orchestra pit that will provide ’park seating’ and wine and beer in the evenings,” Hanson says.

This year’s inside move does have one big advantage: air conditioning.

—Patti Roberts