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5 Best Outdoor Theaters Around The Bay Area

The best outdoor theaters offer summer adventures for all, from the seaside to the mountains to the wine country. Audiences have a chance to enjoy award-winning culture and fresh air at the same time. Plan your summer and fall accordingly with some great productions at these outdoor theaters in and around the Bay Area.
half moon bay shakes

Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company
P.O. Box 112
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(916) 838-0482

The new Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company opened in 2012 with "The Taming of the Shrew" and scheduled a summer 2013 production of "Hamlet." Bring your sunscreen and hat to the restaurant Cameron's on August 31 and September 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 with matinees on Sunday. Cameron's features British food and drink with a pub, a huge BBQ area where the productions happen and offers an RV park and campground. See the performance with a meal from Cameron's or bring your own picnic. Robert Pickett and Mollie Stickney of Half Moon Bay act in the Bay Area and founded the new group. Coastside Books sells tickets at 432 Main Street, HMB or buy tickets online via PayPal.

Related: Winter Camping Guide for San Francisco

pacific rep

Pacific Repertory Theatre
P.O. Box 222035
Carmel, CA 93922
(831) 622-0700

Although a bit of a hike (around a two-hour drive), this is one theater company you don't want to miss. Pacific Repertory Theatre presents a family musical, "Peter Pan" at a 1910 amphitheater set amid the pines of Carmel-By-The-Sea. Bring a BBQ to cook in the huge open fire pits of the historic Forest Theater. Barrie's classic of a boy who would never grow up gets special flying effects from Las Vegas in this production directed by Walt DeFaria.

Related: Best Art Galleries On The Peninsula

Mountain Play

The Mountain Play Association
P.O. Box 2025
Mill Valley, CA 94942
(415) 383-1100

May 19-June 16, 2013

The Mountain Play celebrates its 100th season as it presents the perfect outdoor summer production, Oscar Hammerstein II's "The Sound of Music." A live 14-piece orchestra plays backstage as the The Von Trapp Family Singers escape the Nazis after the occupation of Austria before World War II. The head of the family, a widowed Naval captain, has just returned from his honeymoon after falling in love with the children's governess, a nun who proved too high spirited for the cloistered life. Bring your own picnic or purchase food and beverages at the site.

Cal Shakes

Cal Shakes
100 California Shakespeare Theater Way
Orinda, CA 94563
(510) 548-9666

Cal Shakes at Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in the Siesta Valley between Orinda and Berkeley offers contemporary Shakespeare mixed with pop culture and more, kicking off this summer with the comedic immigration tale "American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose'" followed by Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" and Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windemere's Fan." Bring your own wine and picnic or purchase tasty treats at the café. The free shuttle runs to and from Orinda BART and opening night features a catered reception after the show.

shakespeare napa valley

Shakespeare Napa Valley Festival
Veteran's Park
800 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 256-7503

Shakespeare Napa Valley Festival presents Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors." A father has two sets of twins and each set is unaware the other exists. Both sets have been shipwrecked as children and the father could only rescue one from each set, leaving one of each on the island. The comedy of errors ensues when both sets end up on the island and eventually discover who is who. Jennifer King directs this 90-minute production to which patrons may bring a picnic and their own seating. Bring your bike or rent one. Pick up some wine at your favorite winery or try out a wine country restaurant.

Related: Best Specialty Bookstores On The Peninsula

Cindy Warner is a freelance writer and a San Francisco Bay Area native. Cindy has covered SF theater and opera for via her bicycle since January 2009. Check out her work on

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