After an extensive search of potential locations, Shakespeare’s Associates, producers of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, announced it will stage its 2015 season on the grounds of the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room on Tesla Road in California's Livermore Valley wine country. The company is currently in the midst of a $60,000 fund-raiser specifically aimed at financing its move from the Concannon Vineyard, its previous home.
”The Wente family has been tremendously supportive of the arts in our community and we are delighted to be partnering with them," said Shakespeare's Associates Board Chairwoman Beth Trutner said in a press release. "Due to its atmosphere and intimacy, the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room is the ideal venue for Livermore Shakes to continue its tradition of professional theater under the stars with an offering of award-winning wines and food.”
“We are extremely excited that Wente Vineyards is the new home for Livermore Shakespeare Festival in 2015," Wente Vineyards Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Wente, a fourth-generation winegrower, said in the release. "Our family winery has a history of contributing to the local community, especially when it comes to performing arts, so this is a perfect fit for us. We look forward to hosting Livermore Shakes next summer and enjoying the performances.”
Livermore Shakes will erect a stage and set up chairs on the sprawling lawn at the Estate Winery site for five weeks in the summer of 2015. The open-air theater venue will showcase the company’s brand of accessible Shakespeare, high-quality performances, and community-building theatrical experiences. Wente Vineyards will feature its brand of casual elegance with an array of picnicking and dining options from picnic food on-site to pretheater culinary experiences at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Patrons can look forward to enjoying the hand-crafted, fine wines which have made Wente Vineyards a leader in California wine growing for over 130 years. The award-winning wines can be enjoyed in the on-site tasting room, the new Winemakers Studio, and on the landscaped property before and during the performances.
“We are grateful to Concannon for hosting our Shakespeare in the Vineyard program for the last seven summers," Producing Artistic Director Lisa A. Tromovitch said in a release. "With their incredible generosity, we’ve grown to the point of attracting sold-out audiences We’ll miss our friends at Concannon, but look forward to the next stage of development for the company.”
Shakespeare’s Associates formed an ad hoc committee comprised of Trutner, Livermore Mayor John Marchand; local business owners and philanthropists Tom and Claire Marcel; Darcie Kent Vineyards owners David and Darcie Kent; Las Positas College Foundation CEO Ted Kaye; Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group CEO Dale Kaye; and Jim Ott, Bay Area News Group columnist and instructor of English and Shakespeare at Las Positas College. The Committee’s agenda is to find and secure a new location for the Livermore Shakespeare Festival as well as advise the company on a strategic plan for future growth.
“Livermore Shakes has a solid foundation with a large base of patrons and an inspired and active board of directors," SA's Managing Director Katie Marcel said in the release. "Our board has really taken the bull by the horns and rallied to find a new venue and grow the company while doing it. We grew significantly during our tenure at Concannon and brought in over 3,000 patrons over five weekends in the summer of 2013. We are excited to take the next step and, with a new venue, the possibilities for growth are endless.”
Tromovitch has chosen Shakespeare’s popular comedy As You Like It and Jane Austen’s romance Sense and Sensibility for the summer 2015 season. Performances will run July 2–Aug. 2 at the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room, 5565 Tesla Road, Livermore. Tickets sales will begin in February. For more information visit www.LivermoreShakes.org or call 925-443-BARD.
For information on the fund-raising effort, with its Dec. 31 deadline, go to livermoreshakes.org/fund-the-move/.
December 17, 2014