Spring is our season for play development! This year that means family-friendly fairy-tales, and beer-swilling staged readings. 


a bedtime story

As part of the CSE's ongoing adventures in experimenting with classical writing, the ensemble will be performing a conceptual staged reading of William Shakespeare's classic.

Directed by ensemble member Kate Siegel, and featuring ensemble members with special guest performers, the night promises to be an exciting and unusual take on what has been seen as one of Shakespeare's most patriotic plays. 

Beer will be provided. Did we mention beer?


This will be an invite-only event.  Want an invite? Email and let us know!



Continuing a fond tradition, the CSE returns to Descanso Gardens in April for Fairy Tales in the Garden!


After the standing room-only performances of last year's Beauty and the Beast, the CSE returns with all new fairy tales, written by author and poet Jeremy Radin. The stories will be played out amidst Descanso incredible grounds. 


Good for all ages!  Check Descanso Gardens' site for more information. 

The CSE returns to its roots with a staged reading at the inspiring outdoor Under The Oaks Theater at Descanso Gardens. 


This May 25th, celebrate the Rose Festival and the Bard at Descanso Gardens with a staged reading of the romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, starring members of the Ensemble and special guest stars. 


Directed by founding member of the Ensemble Fred Cross, this is a family-friendly event. More details to follow here and on the website for Descanso Gardens!

READING: Much Ado About Nothing

and coming in the Fall...





Returning after a sold-out run at the end of 2013, and going on tour, Shakespeare's VILLAINS is back due to popular demand!



Imagine if Shakespeare’s best villains were taken out of their respective plays, reassembled Frankenstein-style, and finally got to be the focus of their own stories. The California Shakespeare Ensemble will do just that in Shakespeare’s VILLAINS as they weave three of the Bard's finest antagonists into one engaging 90-minute show, using only Shakespeare's original words.


"To improve Shakespeare by way of editorial wit is to enact a miracle, and the CSE has enacted a miracle." - Ken Baumann; editor, Sator Press


Lineage Performing Arts Center will host the CSE late in 2014 in this dark tragicomic look at what it means to be a "villain". Shakespeare's most well-known villains like Iago and Richard III have a long history of fandom. But some of The Bard's more complex villains may actually show us how much evil is in all of us. Is Shylock really a villain? Is Macbeth?


The show follows three of Shakespeare's villains--Shylock (Merchant of Venice), Macbeth (Macbeth), and Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet)--using Shakespeare’s original words and their own separate stories, but with a new adaptation and edit by CSE Artistic Director Brian Elerding.

The show runs approximately 90 minutes. Directed by Brian Elerding.