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Gary S. Martinez as Cleon and Mary Knoll as Dionyza in Free Shakespeare in the Park's 2008 production of


"Best of all, their clear delivery of the lines is completely understandable and uniformly accessible."
- Sue Steinberg,
Pleasanton Independent


The Shakespeare Festival in the News

Artistic Director blog

SF Shakes “Macbeth”– the Nightmare in Broad Daylight
-Daivd Hirzel, wordwright (Sept 15, 2013)

'Macbeth' in all of its bloody gore
- John Angel Grant, Daily Post (Aug 5, 2013)

S.F. Shakes' streamlined 'Macbeth' is a winner
- Jean Schiffman, SF Examiner (Aug 4, 2013)

'Macbeth' a bloody triumph
- Pat Craig, San Jose Mercury (July 12, 2013)

Macbeth mirrors modern headlines
- Sue Steinberg, The Independent (July 5, 2013)

Press release: Shakespeare Festival announces Rebecca J. Ennals as Artistic Director
(Oct 14, 2012)
PR photo (L to R: Rebecca J Ennals, Toby K. Leavitt)

Henry V reigns supreme in Pleasanton
"Henry is one of the strongest shows ever presented by S.F. Shakes in its Free Shakespeare in the Park series." - Pat Craig
Contra Costa Times
(July 7, 2012)

Rousing Shakespeare a must see
"SF Shakes presents a triumphant version of the Bard’s “Henry V” that no theater-lovers should miss!" - Sue Steinberg,
The Pleasanton Independent
(July 6, 2012)

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival wraps up with smashing 'Cymbeline'
- Robert Sokol,
San Francisco Examiner
(Sept 7, 2011)

Tri-Valley native plays lead role in SF Shakes' 'Henry V'

- Pat Craig, Bay Area Newspaper Group
(June 28, 2012)

Toil and Trouble at Fremont Library
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's touring production of Macbeth.
- Julie Grabowski, Tri-City Voice
(Jan 24, 2012)

Best Place for Kids "to be or not to be"
Editor's Picks - Best of the Bay.
Bay Guardian
(Jul 26, 2011)

An entirely different story or a tale of two 'Pericles'
"A tricky tour de force, carried off with great skill and energy."
-Susan Steinberg, The Independent
(July 3, 2008)

Magical Night in the Forest - San Francisco Chronicle Review
"A production that overflows with unexpected magic."
- Pam Grady, San Francisco Chronicle (September 5, 2007)

Shakespeare's Midsummer Magic
- Pleasanton Independent Review
"It's an evening of rollicking fun for the whole family." -
Susan Steinberg, Pleasanton Independant (July 5, 2007)

S.F. group presents Shakespeare's magical 'Midsummer' in Pleasanton
"If you want to perform a Shakespeare play outdoors in the summer, there is probably no better choice than "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
- Pat Craig, Contra Costa Times
(July 4, 2007)

A conversation with Ken Ruta, dean of Bay Area actors
"He played Falstaff in the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's 'King Henry IV, Part 1' and 'King Henry IV, Part 2'
- Karen D'Souza, San Jose Mercury News

The Tempest - Piedmont Post Review
"An enchanting production for an afternoon in the park."
- Jaime Robles, The Piedmont Post
(Aug 23, 2006)

The Tempest - Berkeley Daily Planet Review
"Kenneth Kelleher has outdone himself as director in putting together a production for San Francisco Shakespeare that is an original staging that plays very well outdoors."
- Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet
(Aug 22, 2006)

The Tempest - San Francisco Chronicle Review
"Anchored by the mercurial Motyka and Julian Lòpez-Morillas' solid, densely textured Prospero, "The Tempest" is the festival's strongest offering in years."

- Robert Hurwitt, Chronicle Theater Critic
(July 17, 2006)

The Tempest - Pleasanton Independent Review
"An enhanced sound system that renders each word clearly, evocative costumes, haunting music, and a superb professional cast that understands how to deliver Elizabethan English as familiar speech combine to make this a rarely accessible classic."
- Susan Steinberg, The Independent
(June 29, 2006)

San Francisco Bay Guardian: BEST OF THE BAY 2006, Editor's Pick
- The San Francisco Bay Guardian, July 26, 2006
(July 26, 2006)

National Endowment for the Arts Expands Shakespeare for a New Generation to Introduce More Students to Magic of Live Theater
"As Honorary Chairman of the Shakespeare in American Communities project, I am delighted to see this effort expanded so that even more children will be able to experience the magic of William Shakespeare." -- Laura Bush, NEA
( Sept 12, 2005)

Toby Leavitt speaks to SF Arts Council on the state of financial support for the arts in SF
- San Francisco Arts Commission
( August 2, 2005)

Much Ado About Nothing - Contra Costa Times Review
'Much Ado About Nothing' provides enough raucous laughter to warm any chilly summer evening."
- Pat Craig, Contra Costa Times
(June 27, 2005)
at Craig, Contra costa ---

Much Ado About Nothing - Pleasanton Weekly Review
"All of the actors did an outstanding job." - Jerri Long, Pleasanton Weekly
(July 1, 2005)

Maybe you knew her when
"Valerie Weak, who grew up in Pleasanton, has returned to her hometown as a member of the
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival"

(Pleasanton Weekly)
July 1, 2005)

Dream Makers
How teachers, parents, and a young white principal have taken plans for a Dream School in the Bayview and made them a dream of their own
- San Francisco Weekly
( March 9, 2005)

A bit more of the Bard
" 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' playing for families"
- Mountain View Voice
( February 25, 2005)

Shakespeare Festival at MV Arts Center
"The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival makes its debut in Mountain View on Saturday with two performances of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' "
- Los Altos Town Crier
( February 3, 2005

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival Comes to the Presidio
“ 'We’re pleased to welcome Free Shakespeare in the Park as an anchor cultural event at the Presidio' says Craig Middleton, executive director of the Presidio Trust."
- The Presidio of San Francisco
( September 2004)

Twelfth Night- Oakland Tribune Review
"This performance of 'Twelfth Night' is light-hearted and fun." - Alexandra DeFelice, Oakland Tribune
(July 29, 2004)

Twelfth Night - Contra Costa Times Review
"The show is a tremendous amount of fun, and perfrect for outdoor summer entertainment." - - Pat Craig, Contra Costa Times
(July 19, 2004)

Hot days, cool camps/Unusual summer programs cater to kids' creativity
"The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is offering two-week Shakespeare camps
for youth from 7 to 18"
- San Franisco Chronicle
( April 23, 2004)

Arts Scene Draws Visitor Applause
"Outdoor arts presentations are plentiful during the summer in San Francisco. Two of the most popular are the Stern Grove Music Festival and the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival."
- SF Convention & Visitors Bureau
( Mar 15, 2004)

Loves Labour’s Lost
"Free Shakespeare in the Park provides an opportunity for everyone to see high quality,
professional theater free of charge."
(City of Oakland Events - September 10, 2003)

Alladin comes to the Zeum
“Join us on an enchanted romantic adventure for the holidays.” - Zeum
(December, 2002)

Hitachi Helps Bring Shakespeare to Streets of San Jose, California
- The Hitachi Foundation

'Top Event Picks – 'Romeo & Juliet'' at the Lorraine Hansberry
“If you've never had a chance to experience this work in an intimate setting, you won't want to miss this opportunity...”
- Metro Publishing
( October 10-16, 2002)

'Cinderella'...provides Christmas alternative
"...will send you out of the theater convinced there is hope for mankind after all... it's a gem... One could feel the warm glow of community settle in, and it was lovely."
- Marin Independant Journal
( December 7, 2001)

Burlesque 'Cinderella' ably twists fairy-tale silliness

"It's all silliness and sentiment -- the familiar fairy tale compounded with farcical interludes, burlesque cross-dressing, Laurel and Hardy routines, plenty of audience interaction and songs..."
- San Francisco Chronicle
( December 7, 2001)

Group does 'Cinderfella' -- er, 'Cinderella'
"And it delivers, nicely, with a rough-and-tumble sort of comedy...this may be the perfect piece of theater for your holiday."
- Contra Costa Times
(December 7, 2001)

S.F. Shakes' 'Cinderella' has a ball, Talk about a rowdy fairy tale
"...a high-spirited evening..."
(San Francisco Examiner - December 6, 2001)

Roll out the red carpet for 'King Lear'
"Three Stars - A Royal Treatment"
- Oakland Tribune
(September 27, 2001)

PROFILE, Ray Reinhardt - Every inch a king
"At 71, veteran actor ready to take command of Lear."
(San Francisco Chronicle - September 17, 2001)

The San Francisco Chronicle bestows its highest rating
The little man jumping out of his chair for "The Shakespeare Festival's production of 'King Henry IV, Part I' "
(San Francisco Chronicle - July 11, 2000)

The Bard is Raised
"Hundreds of California students saw Jorge Rubio play Petruchio in the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's school tour of 'Shrew.' ''
( San Francisco Chronicle - May 25, 2000)

Exploring the qualities of 'Shylock'
"Shylock, Gareth Armstrong informs us at the outset of his solo show, is one of only two Shakespeare characters whose name has become a noun."
(San Francisco Examiner - April 12, 2000)

Royal Shakespeare Company's 'Shrew' to highlight S.F. Bard festival
"The rare RSC visit promises to be the crown jewel in an unusually ambitious four-show season for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. "
(San Francisco Examiner - February 19, 2000)

Royal Shakespeare Company to Perform `Taming of the Shrew' at Herbst Theatre

(San Francisco Chronicle - February 19, 2000)

Hot deals on 16th century fashion wear
"Free festival's costume sale lets anyone dress like Romeo or Juliet."
(San Francisco Examiner - September 7, 1999)

A tasty chowder of Shakespeare in the park
"Through canny shaping of the script and the strength of the performers, Powell has managed to give the women's roles more prominence than usual."
(San Francisco Examiner - August 2, 1999)

Shakespeare Takes Center Stage
"A hot ticket at the movies, the Bard may pack summer festivals, too."
(San Francisco Chronicle - June 6, 1999)

Perchance to Dream
"The professionally staged Shakespearean comedy will feature a full troupe of actors and elaborate sets and costumes."
(Cupertino Crier - July 29, 1998)

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