Shakespeare Youth Festival LA 2024

Shakespeare Youth Festival, presenting Julius Caesar, Richard II, and The Tempest

We are excited to announce our new season – three plays, to be presented in March of 2024, at the beautiful Hudson Theatre Backstage (6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038). The Box Office will open at the beginning of February – hope to see you in the audience!!


What makes a tyrant? And who is the hero and who is the villain?

Saturday, March 2 at 2 pm
Sunday, March 3 at 2 pm

Saturday, March 9 at 1 pm
Sunday, March 10 at 1 pm


Man vs. Martyr – the downfall of an insecure king …

Saturday, March 9 at 5 pm
Sunday, March 10 at 5 pm

Saturday, March 16 at 5 pm
Sunday, March 17 at 5 pm


Marauders meet Magic – shipwreck and sorcery on an island of dreams!!

Saturday, March 16 at 1 pm
Sunday, March 17 at 1 pm

Saturday, March 23 at 2 pm
Sunday, March 24 at 2 pm

SYF announces new leadership

Shakespeare Youth Festival

After seventeen years with Shakespeare Youth Festival, Blaire Baron is leaving Los Angeles as well as her position as Artistic Director of the youth arts non-profit that she founded. She will continue to serve on the Board of Directors and as a global ambassador from her new location in Staunton, Virginia (home of American Shakespeare Center). J. Bailey Burcham, who has been involved/engaged with the organization since 2015, will step into the Executive Director spot, replacing Julia Walker Wyson who, as the new Artistic Director, will focus on the artistic direction of the company.

Baron founded SYF (formerly, Los Angeles Drama Club) in 2005, with a handful of children in her backyard — home of the historic Brookledge Theatre, precursor to LA’s Magic Castle. Through her artistic vision, the group exploded into a thriving non-profit that has reached children not only all over LA, but in Kenya, Botswana, and Mexico. “We are delighted that Blaire will continue her association with Shakespeare Youth Festival,” Wyson commented. “Among other things, as a Board member, she will be integrally involved in developing our international program, which she initiated with a trip to Botswana in 2018.” 

As Executive Director, J. Bailey Burcham will focus on expanding the programming and reach of SYF to make the highest quality of theater and community even more accessible to the youth of Los Angeles and beyond. Burcham, who first became associated with SYF in 2015 as a cast member of a production of Baron’s original script “Outspoken: Shakespeare in Shackles,” is also a local Director, Producer and Award-Winning Writer.  He has directed and produced everything from Regional Musical Theater to Experimental Fringe offerings. Previously, in his role as the Manager of the Pasadena Playhouse, Burcham was an integral part of their Tony Award Winning season. “Shakespeare Youth Festival has changed the lives of so many people, including myself,” said Burcham. “I couldn’t be more proud to take on this position to bring more of what we do to the world.” Wyson added, “Bailey is a creative, dynamic, and multi-talented artist, and we are excited to see where he takes our organization. His deep connections to the Los Angeles theater community will benefit our young artists, and he is already using those connections to bring new and diverse talent to our teaching staff.” 

Shakespeare Youth Festival’s first project under Burcham’s leadership was the annual Summer Shakespeare Institute. Youth, ages 7 – 14, from all over Los Angeles gathered in Kenneth Hahn Park to explore Shakespeare and theater. Immediately following that, the SYF Teen Ensemble presented the 2nd Annual “Ren Week,” inspired by a tradition at Staunton Virginia’s American Shakespeare Center, where they met on Monday, rehearsed all week, and presented a full-length production (this year’s was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) on Friday and Saturday. 

In the Fall, the troupe will begin rehearsals for “Richard II” (first time for the company), “Julius Caesar,” and “The Tempest.” The productions will be presented at the 18th annual Shakespeare Youth Festival LA.

SYF awarded two grants from California Arts Council

SYF awarded two grants from California Arts Council

The California Arts Council has announced a grant award of $18,000 to Shakespeare Youth Festival as part of its Impact Project program in its first round of funding for 2022.

Thanks to this generous support, in Fall 2023, we will launch a multigenerational community project between our students, and elder members of the West Adams community, consisting of meaningful interviews transformed into short plays, spoken word, poetry, monologues culminating in free performances for the community.

“The pandemic created a risk of isolation and depression in many of our community’s elders – as life moved ‘online,’ seniors, especially low-income seniors, risked being left out of many of the activities that would normally have provided them with connection,” says Blaire Baron, our Artistic Director. “Now that we can begin emerging out of our isolation, we want to send a message to them that we value their experience, their memories, and their wisdom. Being seen and heard, having one’s story told for others, and acknowledgement from one’s community is a profound stabilizing, healing and uplifting event.”

In addition, Shakespeare Youth Festival will receive a General Operating grant of $28,500. We are deeply grateful for this support, which will enable us to continue to expand our programs to pre-pandemic levels and beyond.

Shakespeare Youth Festival was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, with grant awards for its Cycle A programming totaling more than $31 million across more than 1,100 grants supporting nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state. The dollar amount already marks the largest annual investment in the California Arts Council’s 46-year history.

“We are elated today to be able to say that, with this first round of funds, we are placing a historic amount of money into the very worthy hands of California’s arts and cultural workforce—and with more yet to come,” said California Arts Council Chair Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez. “We have long since understood the value of our artists in this state, and we are incredibly grateful to our Governor and our Legislature for their support and sharing in a like-minded vision for a California where all people flourish with access to and participation in the arts.”

Organizations were awarded grants across seven different program areas within Cycle A, focused on the CAC’s efforts to address geographic equity, enable autonomy and sustainability for smaller organizations, and grow the strength of local arts agencies and their partnerships.

To view a complete listing of all California Arts Council grantees by county, visit this link.

For a complete listing of grantees by organization, go to this link.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez, Chair; Consuelo Montoya, Vice Chair; Gerald Clarke, Vicki Estrada, Jodie Evans, Ellen Gavin, Alex Israel, Phil Mercado, and Roxanne Messina Captor. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, click here.

The Wild World of Shakespeare!

The Wild World of Shakespeare!

Come to ACT, to listen, to move and to CREATE A SHOW in less than two hours. That’s right! Shakespeare is not just strange words on a page – it’s a living adventure with many wild stories and they include YOU!

Walk away from this workshop filled with excitement for Shakespeare and storytelling!

Thursday, June 9 from 3:30 to 5:00 pm

FREE and Open to Grades 2 through 8

Jefferson Branch
Los Angeles Public Library

2211 W. Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Thinking about joining us for the Summer? This workshop is a great way to get acquainted with Shakespeare, and learn what Shakespeare Youth Festival is all about. If you have questions, please email us at

RSVP for The Wild World of Shakespeare

Summer with SYF 2022

Summer with SYF 2022

Registration is now open for Summer with SYF 2022 – a fantastic way to introduce kids to Shakespeare!

Each session meets Monday through Friday, and culminates with a recital, sharing the work with parents, friends and the community.

We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so this Summer, tuition will be Pay-What-You-Can. If you are able to pay something, your contribution will help us reach more children!

Shakespeare Youth Festival 2022

Shakespeare Youth Festival 2022

Face Everything And Rise might look like an acronym for FEAR, but it is exactly what Hermione (Winter’s Tale) and Hero (Much Ado) must do against extreme power and misogyny—at the hands of the one they loved and trusted. They have great reason to fear, but with the help of a few good allies, they rise to  goddess-like status. These metaphors presented 400 years ago are still relevant for us in 2022. Come rise with us. 

The Winter’s Tale

Friday, March 18 at 7 pm
Saturday, March 19 at 7 pm
Sunday, March 20 at 2 pm

Friday, March 25 at 7 pm
Saturday, March 26 at 7 pm
Sunday, March 27 at 2 pm

Much Ado about Nothing

Friday, April 1 at 7 pm
Saturday, April 2 at 2 pm
Sunday, April 3 at 2 pm

All performances will take place at:

Fais Do Do
5253 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016


To keep our (unmasked) actors safe, we require that all audience members present proof of vaccination (or recent COVID test) upon admission, and remain masked throughout the performance. To keep our audience safe, we will be limiting the number of tickets sold at each performance, so that we may preserve social distancing in the audience.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing

The sincere Hero (kind girl) is loved by Claudio (dashing soldier) – but through sheer malice, she’s framed as “deceitful” in a trick crafted by the jealous and disgruntled Don John. Hero is dumped at the altar until her bestie Beatrice (forceful independent upstart) insists on getting justice for Hero!  What follows is both shocking and funny, with Beatrice herself finding a soul mate in her arch rival, Benedick. This classic Shakespeare comedy comes complete with a whole pack of full and colorful characters like the impossibly charming Don Pedro, the devious and mischievous Borachio, the hilariously inept Constable Dogberry, and more, and an ending that satisfies … after some hairpin plot twists!
Ages: 2nd grade through 7th grade

SATURDAYS – 3:30 PM TO 5:30 PM

Rehearsals begin: October 30th
Winter Break: December 18 – January 7 (Rehearsals resume January 8)
Additional rehearsals (tentative): Sunday, February 27; Monday, February 28; Wednesday, March 9. Sunday, March 6; Monday, March 7; Wednesday, March 9.
Performances: March 12 & 13, March 19 & 20
Rehearsal location: World City Center – 3911 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

Tuition: $625
We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here for the application form and guidelines. Please do not hesitate to apply!

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale

Our veterans have requested this complex problem play, as it explores deep and unexplainable mental afflictions, idiosyncrasies, and behaviors in our natures. In other words – this could happen to us! . We will be working with our Players as they create their own take on this play, and provide input on how the characters are portrayed, including non-binary and LGBT possibilities.
Ages: 8th grade and up

SATURDAYS – 1:00 PM TO 3:00 PM

Rehearsals begin: October 30th
Winter Break: December 18 – January 7 (Rehearsals resume January 8)
Additional rehearsals (tentative): Sunday, February 27; Sunday, March 6; Monday, March 7; Wednesday, March 9; Monday, March 14; Wednesday, March 16;
Performances: March 18, 19 & 20, March 25, 26 & 27
Rehearsal location: World City Center – 3911 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

Tuition: $625
We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here for the application form and guidelines. Please do not hesitate to apply!




The program consists of rigorous, exciting storytelling and playwriting sessions throughout the day, creating short plays out of improvisations with prompts, autobiographical moments, and stories the group creates together. We will also discuss the art, craft and business of playwriting.

The playwrights will work with an ensemble of actors made up of professional actors and LADC actors, who will perform the plays at the end of the week.

Grade 7 and up (Fall 2021)

June 21 – 25
Monday through Thursday – 10 am to 1 pm
Friday – 10 am to 3 pm