Contact: Katie Marcel

Livermore Shakes Grows Board of Directors

Livermore – Livermore Shakespeare Festival, producers of the Shakespeare in the Vineyard program at Wente Vineyards and So Wise So Young, an in–school early literacy program in all of Livermore’s public elementary schools, announced the addition of Alexis Miller to their board of directors. Miller recently relocated to Livermore from San Francisco and practices law at Trutner Law Offices in downtown Livermore. Miller is a member of the Alameda County Bar Association and the East Bay Trust and Estate Lawyers Association. Miller has previous experience in development with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and in New York City with Harlem RBI, a youth development organization. “We are thrilled to have Alexis on the team” says Board Chair, Laura Batti. “Alexis represents a growing sector of our audience. Her experience in non-profit development and perspective as a Millennial lend support to two of our major areas of focus.”
“LSF’s Board of Directors is a natural fit for me as I have enjoyed attending the shows at Wente Vineyards and am passionate about cultivating the arts in my new community” states Miller. “My generation values the arts and unique experiences that enhance our quality of life. Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s contributions to the Livermore community definitely impacted my decision to move to Livermore. There isn’t anything like this in the Greater Bay Area.”
Livermore Shakespeare Festival will produce Shakespeare’s fantasy, The Winters Tale and Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest on the grounds of Wente Vineyards Estate Winery & Tasting room at 5565 Tesla Road in Livermore June 28th to July 29th, 2018. For dates and detailed information visit  Tickets range from $25 to $58 and are day-dependent, with discounts for seniors, students and educators. Family Nights will be held on Thursday, June 28th (The Importance of Being Earnest) and Thursday, July 12th (The Winter’s Tale) with  $5 youth tickets (under 18).  For tickets call (925) 443-BARD or visit

 January 15, 2018
Contact: David B. Kent 209-602-1121

City Unveils Design Concepts for Downtown Livermore

Livermore – City Staff has released for public review and comment two draft concepts for re-development of an 8.2-acre site at the heart of downtown. The “Eastside” concept would build a 125-room boutique hotel on the Southeast corner of S. Livermore and Railroad Avenues. A “Westside” concept places the hotel on the Southeast corner of L Street and Railroad Avenue. Both concepts feature a new multi-level parking garage near the intersection of L and First Streets and a centrally located village green surrounded by an expansion of Blacksmith Square’s historic one-story brick buildings and tree lined courtyard. Once built, Livermore ‘s downtown will have a similar vibe to other Wine Country Destination towns such as Healdsburg and Paso Robles.

Affordable workforce housing would be built in areas not chosen for the hotel, parking, and open space. Enthusiastic representatives from the ranching, scientific, winegrowing, hospitality, business, teaching, interfaith ministry, and performing and visual arts communities praised the two concepts as being attractive, forward looking and highly responsive to the diverse community input garnered from the City’s year-long outreach process. Lisa Tromovitch of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival called the plans “a dynamic expression of our city’s cultural heritage for scientific innovation, world class winegrowing, and family ranching traditions unified and amplified by the arts.” Local teacher Evan Branning was pleased to see that “the affordable housing funds used to purchase the site were being used to build much needed workforce housing for our community.” Vintner and artist Darcie Kent exclaimed, “The [outreach] process was worth it! An amazingly diverse coalition of residents was brought together in the workshops and the city’s synthesis of so many new ideas has resulted in a couple of terrific plans. Active listening, compromise and mutual respect still work in Livermore!” Although consensus elements from the public outreach are included in both designs, these draft concepts provide more space for cultural assets, less housing, and better traffic flow than earlier versions set out for citizen review and refinement. Open space, calculated to be approximately 3.5 acres under the westside option, excluding numerous rooftop patios, is one-third larger than under any previous westside design.​
Draft Westside Hotel Concept   |  Draft Eastside Hotel Concept

Key to this additional open space is the Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association proposal to build up to 100 units of affordable senior housing outside the downtown area in exchange for naming rights to a park adjacent to Blacksmith Square honoring local ranchers and veterans. This proposal allows repayment of up to $7 million in affordable housing funds used to purchase the downtown land. Either concept can repay the balance of the affordable housing debt by building an additional 130 workforce housing units within the 8.2-acre site. These units are intended for teachers, first responders and other local workers being priced out of the rental market. The eastside concept places all these apartments on the corner of L Street and Railroad Avenue whereas the westside concept calls for three smaller apartment buildings be built in various locations across the site. Both concepts envision Stockman Park as a shady and expansive village green with an outdoor concert stage capable of hosting a wide variety of civic events and cultural programs. Both provide space for a privately funded 150-seat “Black Box” theatre, a Science Center, an upscale steakhouse, artisan shops, tasting rooms and galleries radiating from the park’s circular plaza.

Ample diagonal parking is provided on new cross streets to improve access, community policing and traffic flow. Although both concepts more than triple the number of disabled parking spaces adjacent to the Bankhead Theatre, neither concept includes construction of the 352-stall parking garage adjacent to the Bankhead strongly advocated by the owner of The Independent weekly paper. On January 29, City Council is expected to finalize the Stockmen’s proposal and possibly select a hotel location. Supporters of the Bankhead garage intend to argue adding it to the westside concept and moving the proposed affordable housing on that site across Railroad Avenue. Why is this important? A Bankhead garage dispute, which would be the third major parking structure in downtown, would not delay the immediate development of most elements in the westside concept, but it would block all non-parking development of the eastside concept until resolved. This would create uncertainty for the City’s hotel developer and cost taxpayers substantially more if the garage is built.

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December 7, 2017
Contact: David Kent

Downtown Livermore Plans Taking Shape

Livermore – On November 29, Livermore City Council, in a long string of 5-0 votes, directed City Staff to study two concepts for re-development of an 8.2-acre site at the heart of downtown. One concept, commonly called the “eastside” option, would build a 125-room boutique hotel on the Southeast corner of S. Livermore and Railroad Avenues. The other “westside” concept would build the hotel on the Southeast corner of L Street and Railroad Avenue. Affordable workforce housing would be built in areas not chosen for a hotel and open space.

Enthusiastic representatives from the ranching, scientific, winegrowing, hospitality, business, performing arts, teaching and interfaith ministry communities spoke strongly on the preceding Monday night in favor of actions the Council took on Wednesday regarding affordable housing, open space and new cultural assets. An advocate for a centrally located hotel along the southern edge of Railroad Avenue where K Street currently terminates requested on Wednesday that this third concept also be studied, but this request was not acted upon. Council discussion centered on how this option would further isolate Blacksmith Square, contained an inappropriately large Conference Center, and was inconsistent with a proposal by the Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association.

This Stockmen’s proposal, which Council voted 5-0 to negotiate and finalize, allows the City to build up to 100 units of affordable senior housing outside the downtown area in exchange for naming rights to a new central park. Dave Finster Jr., President of the Rodeo Association, detailed how a Stockman Park & Plaza will celebrate the community’s rich heritage and honor local ranchers and veterans. The proposal could be worth up to $7 million dollars to the City and allow repayment of affordable housing fund loans used to purchase the downtown land. The balance of the affordable housing debt could be retired by building another 130 apartment units to provide workforce housing to teachers, first responders and other young citizens being priced out of the Livermore rental market.

Council also voted 5-0 to protect Blacksmith Square, a much loved mixed use gathering space on the Southwest corner of Livermore and Railroad Avenues, by restricting any high-rise hotel or apartment structures from “looming” above the historic 1-story structures. Many supporters of the “Unified Vision,” the elements of which were well reflected in Council direction to City Staff, spoke in favor of expanding Blacksmith Square and wrapping it around the proposed Stockman Park to create a “Cultural Core.” This would provide Livermore’s downtown a similar vibe to other Wine Country Destination towns such as Healdsburg and Paso Robles.

Elements of the Cultural Core include a privately funded 150-seat “Black Box” theatre, a Science Center, an upscale steakhouse, artisan shops, tasting rooms and galleries. Supporters envision Stockman Park as a shady and expansive village green capable of hosting a wide variety of civic events and diverse cultural programs. A proposed outdoor concert stage is intended to enhance the visitor experience along with an area for pop-up concessions and gourmet food trucks. Ample diagonal parking would be provided on new cross streets to improve access, community policing and traffic flow.

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November 20, 2017
Contact: David Kent

Livermore Citizens Converge On A Unified Vision For Downtown

Artist Rendering of citizen-generated Unified concept showing a hotel and affordable housing with interchangeable locations.

Livermore – Concerned citizens from the ranching, scientific, winegrowing, business and performing arts communities have united around a vision for the development of an 8.2 acre site at the heart of downtown Livermore. Their “Unified” concept captures the needs of the community and celebrates the rich and complex 220-year cultural heritage of Livermore as the community diversified from early California ranching to winegrowing, national laboratories, technology start-ups, hospitality and the performing arts.

This new Unified concept was submitted at the end of a six-month community outreach process. It marks a unique collaboration amongst the area’s stakeholders and is guided by three unifying principles: 1) Design the downtown for future generations; 2) Repay the $14.5 million that was borrowed from the City’s affordable housing fund to purchase the site; and 3) Take no side (pun intended) on which corner to build the hotel on – east or west. If the hotel were to be built on the Eastside where a Speedy Lube currently stands, affordable housing could be built on the corner of L Street and Railroad. If the hotel were to be built on that Westside corner, formerly occupied by a Train Depot, as much workforce housing as possible could be built on the parking lot adjacent to the Bankhead.   The City Council is urged to study the pros and cons of both options and make a timely decision.

The Unified concept hinges on a proposal by the Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association that could allow the City to build significant amounts of affordable housing outside the downtown area in exchange for naming rights to a new central park. A Stockman Park and Plaza will celebrate the community’s rich heritage and provide an ideal location for a bronze monument honoring our local ranchers and veterans. The proposal could generate in the range of $5 million dollars that would be used to repay current city debt on the downtown land. Affordable workforce housing to be built elsewhere on the site could generate up to $9 million, retiring more debt. A boutique hotel is expected to contribute half a million dollars and the sum total of all three of the aforementioned land uses could conceivably retire the entire $14.5 million debt, not leaving any for future generations to repay.

The Unified design builds on the success of Blacksmith Square, a much loved mixed use gathering space on the corner of Livermore and Railroad Avenues that also embodies the cultural heritage of the area. Several “Westside” design concepts feature a four-story, 125-room hotel surrounding this single-story square on both sides, thereby isolating it from the rest of downtown. Under the Unified concept Blacksmith Square is expanded to include an upscale steakhouse, additional artisan shops and galleries. They would contribute to, and be energized by, vibrant and engaged pedestrian traffic flowing to and from First Street. For more information on downtown merchants, please contact Rachael Snedecor at

Stockman Park is envisioned as a shady and expansive village green capable of hosting a wide variety of civic events programmed around Rodeo Week, Harvest Wine Festival, Art Walks, and diverse cultural programs, such as Cinco de Mayo, to name just a few. An outdoor concert stage will enhance the visitor experience and be a catalyst for enlarged community participation. Artisan shops will border Stockman Park and all key elements radiate from a centrally located Plaza. Shaded space for pop-up concessions and gourmet food trucks is provided along with ample diagonal parking on new cross streets that improve access, community policing and traffic flow. For more information on the Stockmen’s Rodeo Association please contact Dave Finster Jr. at

A key element of the Unified Vision is to provide space for a privately funded 150-seat “Black Box” theatre. A Black Box theatre is a simple structure with lighting and staging that are adaptable to a variety of performances, and that allows for highly interactive audience experiences. Modular, flexible and innovative staging options can be tailored to each performance type. This theatre, which is much smaller and less traditional than the 500-seat Bankhead, will provide an opportunity for young, new and diverse voices to find a starting place and become a natural part of the city’s arts ecosystem. It will be housed in a building that supports the outdoor events with sound, lighting and public restrooms. For more information on creating a cultural core in downtown please contact Lisa Tromovitch at

Another privately funded cultural asset, the Livermore Science and Society Center, enters from Stockman Plaza and rises above a new parking lot behind Blacksmith Square. This center would be dedicated to helping our entire community understand the science behind issues that affect us all and it will draw upon a wide range of science, technology and the arts. Topics such as climate and weather; health and bionics; sustainable and biodynamic agriculture; astronomy and space exploration; ancestry and human migration would be explored in ways that all ages and educational backgrounds can enjoy.  Just as Blacksmith Square is a visual representation of Livermore’s cultural heritage, the new Science Center will be a window into our future.  For more information on the Science and Society Center please contact Alan Burnham at

Each Unified concept element is integrated with the others to create a vibrant downtown core. The individuals and organizations that collaborated to bring this concept to the forefront have already pledged more than a million dollars in private donations for the cultural assets. The team wants to expand this collaboration to all stakeholders in the community and welcomes their ideas.  Many prominent citizens and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, Livermore Shakespeare Festival and Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association have already endorsed this vision and more are expected to do so in the following weeks. To learn how you can participate please contact David Kent at

Supporters of the Unified concept believe it’s time for Livermore to look forward to the kind of future we want for our children and commit to a vision that brings the community together and provides space and opportunity for future generations to celebrate our diverse heritage.

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June 21, 2017
Contact: Katie Marcel
(925) 443-2273

Shakespeare Summer Camp led by stars of Livermore Shakespeare

(Livermore) – Artists starring in Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s productions this summer will be teaming up with Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center to offer a Shakespeare-themed summer camp for aspiring performers in July.  “We have some of the most talented performers in the region with us for the shows each summer,” states Producing Artistic Director, Lisa Tromovitch. “We want to share that talent, and hopefully inspire a love of Shakespeare with our local kids. Two weeks of summer camp is the ideal opportunity to get kids excited about performance and language and expression in a fun and supportive environment.”

Actors/Teaching Artists Jennifer Le Blanc and Deborah Lagin will lead the elementary school-aged camp for kids entering grades 3, 4 and 5. Le Blanc was one of the lead Teaching Artists and curriculum developers for So Wise So Young, Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s highly successful program in all of Livermore’s second grade classrooms. Le Blanc is a member of Actors Equity Association, a produced playwright, adaptor and director, and an acclaimed actress. Le Blanc recently appeared in Lauren Gunderson’s world premier of The Book of Willat the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Le Blanc can be seen in Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac this summer as Roxane. Deborah Lagin, one of the lead Teaching Artists of So Wise So Young, stars as Hermia in Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this season.

Los Angeles based actor, Paul Barrois and Teaching Artist, Aubrey Whitlock will teach the middle school-aged camp for students entering grades 6, 7 and 8. Barrois recently appeared in the award-winning short film, Eerie Anecdotes and will be featured this summer as the mischievous fairy, Puck in LSF’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Aubrey Whitlock is a So Wise So Young Teaching Artist and is currently serving as dramaturg for LSF’s 2017 season as well as Stage Manager for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to acting, Whitlock is also a credentialed teacher and holds an MFA and an MLitt in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College, an MA in Teaching from Chapman University, and a BA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival and the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will produce Some Have Greatness, a Shakespeare themed summer camp at the Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 Eighth Street in downtown Livermore from July 17 – 28th, 1pm – 4pm. The price is $350 with discounts for Livermore residents and scholarships available through the LVPAC Education Fund. For more information and registration visit or call (925)583-2312.

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April 11, 2017
Contact: Katie Marcel
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Livermore Shakes announces summer season cast

“We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously,” bids the beloved buffoon Nick Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Livermore Shakespeare Festival has cast the 2017 season shows and the actors will soon ‘meet and rehearse’ albeit not so obscenely as Nick Bottom suggests. Bay Area talents David Everett Moore and Maryann Rodgers will take on the King and Queen of the Fairies as Oberon and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ryan Tasker and Jennifer Le Blanc, critically acclaimed as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick in Livermore Shakes’ 2014 Much Ado About Nothing, return for Edmond Rostand’s heroic romantic comedy, Cyrano de Bergerac.

At the helm of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is veteran film, television, and stage actor and director, Gary Armagnac. Armagnac will direct a cast including Moore and Rodgers along with ACT MFA Candidate Lily Narbonne as Helena who starred as Anne Elliot in last year’s Livermore Shakes production of Persuasion and Deborah Lagin, fresh off San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s tour of Twelfth Night, as the “little but fierce” Hermia. Russ Marcel, a Livermore local and longtime English and Theatre Arts teacher at Bellarmine College Preparatory, will take on the role of Nick Bottom.

Producing Artistic Director Lisa A. Tromovitch will direct her own adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, the classic comic and romantic tale of the title character, a gifted poet, who romances his love by proxy due to fear of rejection because of his unusually large nose. Inhabiting that famous nose will be Ryan Tasker, last seen as Colonel Brandon in the Livermore Shakes 2015 production of Sense & Sensibility. His love interest, Roxane, will be played by Livermore Shakes regular, Jennifer Le Blanc. Le Blanc returns to the Bay Area after appearing in Lauren Gunderson’s world premier of The Book of Will at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Tasker, Le Blanc and David Everett Moore are all members of Actor’s Equity Association, the union representing professional actors and stage managers. “Arts jobs are jobs and we are proud to be creating jobs, employing artists and contributing to the Bay Area’s artistic ecosystem,” states Tromovitch.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival will produce Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Gary Armagnac from June 29th to July 16th, 2017 and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac adapted and directed by Lisa A. Tromovitch from July 13th to July 30th at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room on Tesla Road in Livermore. For more information visit or call (925) 443-BARD.

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2017 Livermore Shakespeare Festival FACT SHEET

Production: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, adapted by Lisa A. Tromovitch
Producer: Livermore Shakespeare Festival
Directed by: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gary Armagnac
Cyrano de Bergerac, Lisa A. Tromovitch
Performances: June 29th – July 30th, 2017
Preview of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on June 29th.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Opening Night Performance on June 30th. Midsummer performances are June 29, 30, 31, July 1, July 6, 7, 8, 9 with a Family Night performance on Thursday, June 29th.
The Benefit Gala, auction and performance of Midsummer will be held on Saturday, July 8th at 5PM with the performance at 8PM.
Preview of Cyrano de Bergerac will be on July 13th with performances of Cyrano de Bergerac on July 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and 30 with a Family Night performance on Thursday, July 13th.
Time: All performances begin at 7:30PM with the exception of the Benefit Performance of Midsummer on Saturday, July 8th at 8PM.
Location: Wente Vineyards Estate Winery & Tasting Room, 5565 Tesla Road, Livermore, CA 94550
Parking: FREE. Available at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room
Ticket Prices: $50- $25, Benefit performance with dinner and auction on July 8th $150. Livermore Shakes Family Night (Midsummer) on June 29th and (Cyrano) on July 13th. Family Night Kids Tickets $5. Kids 18 & Under on all other performances are $18.
Running Time: Show running times are approximately 2 ½ hours including one 15 minute intermission.
Tickets: (925) 443-BARD or
Information:(925) 443-BARD
Contact: Katie Marcel, Managing Director,


September 3, 2015
Contact: Lisa Tromovitch or Katie Marcel  or
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Shakespeare Integrates Common Core Standards

LIVERMORE – Livermore Shakespeare Festival (LSF) is providing a 10-week program for each of the 37 second grade classrooms in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District over the 2015-16 school year, beginning September 14th. Half of the schools will receive the 10 class visits this Fall, the rest in Winter/Spring 2016. The Shakespeare program is fully integrated with Common Core learning outcomes.

“Theater is actually a perfect way of integrating common core standards with the curriculum,” stated Lisa Tromovitch, artistic director of Livermore Shakes and a tenured professor in theater arts. The students analyze the text, working on reading comprehension and language acquisition, which leads to research and the development of communication skills. Following the critical thinking process, preparing scenes and creating characters enhances communication and collaborative skills, while engaging the creative thinking process. Because Shakespeare production is literature-based theater, the connection between critical thinking and creative thinking is evident. And, because the creative thinking process is done in a collaborative context, communication, collaboration and creative thinking are inextricably linked. Ultimately, these skills are needed in technology, science and business as well, which are all moving to team-based methodologies. Starting the skill building in a literature and arts setting at this level gets the kids off to a good start.

Superintendent Kelly Bowers stated, “This is an amazing opportunity to expose children to poetry and the performing arts, providing a new and special component to the second grade experience.” Upper grades in Livermore already have enhancement opportunities in Livermore and California history and in sciences, most supported by community organizations such as the Livermore Heritage Guild’s third grade program. The second grade was lacking a community partner, and due to the need for car seats, fieldtrips were not an option. “Bringing professional Shakespearean actors to the students is the perfect alternative. We hope our students look forward to seeing the summer production Livermore Shakes produces at Wente Vineyards. Regardless, Shakespeare is required curriculum in the seventh grade, so creating a fun and engaging introduction to his work will enhance their attitude and experience later in their studies,” noted LSF managing director Katie Marcel.

The Livermore program is based in part on Lois Burdett’s groundbreaking work with Shakespeare in the elementary schools in Stratford, Ontario inspired by the presence of the internationally renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival there. Her books “Shakespeare Can Be Fun” are a go-to book series for parents and teachers who engage their kids with the master storyteller’s works. Certificated teacher Mary Fielding and professional actress Jennifer Le Blanc, both actors with the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, piloted the program at Joe Michell Elementary last Spring. This week, they trained three additional actors from the LSF company to deploy the new program. “We want the students to know they are getting ‘the real thing’, that they are being taught Shakespeare by actors who do this professionally, so we plan to use teaching-artists who have worked with us,” added Tromovitch.

The program is supported by funding from the Livermore Valley Education Foundation, the Severns Family Foundation and the Wente Foundation for Arts Education.

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January 28, 2015
Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Livermore Shakes Lisa Tromovitch named President of International Organization

LIVERMORE – Shakespeare’s Associates’, producers of Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Lisa A. Tromovitch was named President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). STA is an international forum for theaters primarily involved with the production of the works of Shakespeare. The 25th annual STA conference was held in early January in San Francisco and gathered 125 representatives from Shakespeare theaters from all over the world.

Tromovitch states: “STA members have given me so much over the years since I joined in 1998, as founder of Maine Shakespeare Festival, that this opportunity to give to the organization in a substantial way is very welcome. I’ve often called the STA conference ‘my MFA in artistic direction’. The STA founders literally put their arms around my shoulders and counseled me on everything from play selection to legal issues about how to run a company. It was at STA that I learned in depth about Canadian scholar Neil Freeman’s work with early texts. It is his texts that we use at LSF every year.”

Shakespeare’s Associates will produce “Sonnet Cafe”, a romantic evening of wine, chocolate and poems of passion at The City of Dublin’s Heritage Park “Sunday School Barn” Black Box Theater at 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin, CA 94568 on February 13, 14 and 15th. Tickets available at Livermore Shakespeare Festival will be held at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room July 2 through August 2, 2015. Tickets will be available at or by calling (925) 443-BARD starting in March of 2015.

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January 8, 2015
Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Shakespeare’s Associates produces Sonnet Café for Valentine’s Day

LIVERMORE – Shakespeare’s Associates, producers of Livermore Shakespeare Festival will produce Sonnet Café: A Romantic Evening of Wine, Chocolate and Poems of Passion at Dublin’s Heritage Park “Sunday School Barn” Black Box Theater in February. The event is part of the Visit Tri-Valley’s “Romancing the Arts in the Tri-Valley” festival that showcases a variety of cultural arts events throughout the Tri-Valley cities.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival actors will perform Shakespeare’s sonnets and other famous romantic poems, as guests mingle and enjoy chocolate and wine. The evening is set up as a date night or group outing in a lounge type setting in Dublin’s charming 80-seat converted barn/black box theater. Guests are invited to be part of the evening by making special poetry dedications to their dates and participating in a Live-Tweet Sonnet creation. “Our patrons have been begging us to produce more events in addition to the Livermore Shakespeare Festival”, states Producing Artistic Director, Lisa A. Tromovitch. “The City of Dublin invited us into a space that provides an intimate performance venue for an interactive, romantic Valentine event with a decidedly ‘Livermore Shakes’ flavor.” Managing Director, Katie Marcel added “we are excited to produce another event pairing quality wine with professional theater but with a more casual, participatory and romantic setting. I really think our patrons are going to love the experience and we hope to capture some new fans with the inventive format.”

The show is directed by Gary Armagnac, director of Livermore Shakes’ recent productions of The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet and stars familiar Livermore Shakes’ artists Erick Ogle, Ashley Bonda, Mary Fielding and Sean Nill.

The event will take place at The City of Dublin’s Heritage Park “Sunday School Barn” Black Box Theater at 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin, CA 94568 on February 13, 14 at 8PM, February 15 at 2PM and February 20, 21 at 8PM and February 22 at 2PM. Tickets are $30 for a “Sofa and Table Front Row Seat”, $27 for a “Chairs and Cocktail Table” seat and $25 for General Admission and include the performance, a glass of wine and taste of chocolate.  Pre-sale ticket purchases are required as seating is limited. Tickets are available at or by calling (925) 443-BARD.

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November 10, 2014
Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Livermore Shakes announces Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room as their new home

LIVERMORE – After an extensive search of potential locations, Shakespeare’s Associates, proud producers of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, announced they will stage their 2015 season on the idyllic grounds of the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room on Tesla Road in Livermore Valley wine country. “The Wente family has been tremendously supportive of the arts in our community and we are delighted to be partnering with them. 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” states Shakespeare’s Associates Board Chair, Beth Trutner. Wente Vineyards Fourth Generation Winegrower and Chief Executive Officer, Carolyn Wente adds “We are extremely excited that Wente Vineyards is the new home for Livermore Shakespeare Festival in 2015. 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 their brand of casual elegance with an array of picnicking and dining options from picnic food on site to pre-theater culinary experiences at the famed 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 beautifully landscaped property before and during the performances.

Producing Artistic Director, Lisa A. 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 2nd – August 2nd at the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room, 5565 Tesla Road, Livermore. Tickets sales will begin in February of 2015. For more information visit or call (925) 443-BARD.

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November 10, 2014
Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Livermore Shakes brings Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” to Swirl on the Square

LIVERMORE – Truman Capote’s touching and largely autobiographical short story, “A Christmas Memory,” will be brought to life on December 10th and 17th, 2014, when artists from the Livermore Shakespeare Festival present the holiday classic. Associate Artist, Joseph Salazar, last seen as Laertes in the 2012 production of Hamlet will play the lead role while Gary Armagnac directs.

Armagnac, an Associate Artist, previously directed the company’s critically acclaimed production of The Taming of the Shrew in 2013.
The readings will take place at Swirl on the Square in downtown Livermore, to the festive accompaniment of a glass of wine or other beverage and a tapas sampler plate. There will be four performances in total, with showings at 5:30PM and 7:30PM on both December 10th and 17th.

Livermore Shakes Producing Artistic Director, Lisa Tromovitch states “in the style of Livermore Shakes, we will celebrate the holidays by offering a literary classic with delicious wine and food in a charming setting. We hope to provide a festive and entertaining evening for friends, family or co-workers to celebrate together.”

Swirl on the Square is located at 21 S. Livermore Ave., in downtown Livermore, CA.  The first reading will begin at 5:30 pm, the second at 7:30pm on December 10th and 17th.  Tickets are $35 and include the performance, a glass of wine or other beverage and a tapas sampler plate. Pre-sale ticket purchases are required as seating is limited. Event sponsors are First Republic Bank of Livermore and Louise and Les Gill. Tickets are available at or by calling (925) 443-BARD.

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July 31, 2014
Contact: Lisa Tromovitch
925-443-BARD (2273)
Photo available upon request

British Delegates Enjoy Livermore Wine and Shakespeare Discussion

On Sunday, July 27th, the Livermore Shakespeare Festival Board of Directors, led by Chair Elizabeth Trutner, Esq., and Artistic Director Lisa Tromovitch hosted delegates from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Dr Paul Edmondson , the University of Warwick Dr Paul Prescott, and Misfits Inc . representatives, Melissa and AJ Leon, for a wine tour “Livermore Shakespeare Festival – Past, Present and Future”. The professors are preparing a book on Shakespeare in America. MisfitsInc. is creating an on-line presence for their current research tour “Shakespeare on the Road,” a reverse-pilgrimage to explore Shakespeare production in North America .

Representatives from area Shakespeare festivals toured with the delegates to Retzlaff, Concannon and Wente Estate wineries (past, present and potential future venues for Livermore Shakes) as they discussed Shakespeare production world-wide. Will Brown and Sarah Connor-Brown of Arabian Shakespeare shared plans for their next international education program. Actress Jennifer Le Blanc represented four companies, as she works regularly with Livermore and Arabian Shakes as well as SF Shakes and Pacific Repertory in Carmel. The group of 14 agreed that the Livermore Wine Country lifestyle pairs perfectly with Shakespeare.
For interviews, information and blog posts about the Shakespeare on the Road tour, visit: For news and information about Livermore Shakespeare Festival visit:

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April 22, 2014
Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Increased Support for Livermore Shakes

LIVERMORE – Livermore Shakespeare Festival announced today the addition of three new board members and the receipt of their first large foundation grant. Board Chair Beth Trutner, Esq. reported, “We are pleased to announce a new partnership with The Severns Foundation to pilot an educational program for school aged children and to increase the sustainability of the parent organization. We recently promoted Katie Marcel to full-time Managing Director and look forward to the results of the New Vision Committee that will be bringing us into a new venue in 2015.” “The grant from the Severns Family Foundation, whose mission is supporting education with a focus on early literacy, is an integral part of the first phase of development of the New Vision,” added Lisa Tromovitch, Producing Artistic Director and founder. “This is a very exciting time for the company.”

New board members have been chosen with specific skills in mind: Laura Batti of Métier Marketing Communications, brings strength in marketing, and on-line and social media branding strategies. Deborah Munro of Aurora Theater, and a former Livermore Shakes apprentice, offers development experience and also brings leadership from a younger demographic. Sue Schorr, of Accounting Solutions, is bringing her expertise in corporate and non-profit accounting. “It’s important that we bring the right people together on the board so that we are a highly functioning group,” added Katie Marcel, “while the end product is a profoundly entertaining performance, we operate like any professional business behind the scenes.” All three new members, Batti, Munro and Schorr have been long time supporters of the work of Shakespeare’s Associates, producers of Livermore Shakespeare Festival.

Livermore Shakes is in pre-production for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, produced outdoors at Concannon Vineyard June 20 – July 21st, 2014. Tickets are on sale now: or 925-443-BARD.

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March 19, 2014
Contact: Katie Marcel, Managing Director
(925) 443-BARD (2273)

Livermore Shakes ad hoc Committee Leads Search for New Venue in 2015

LIVERMORE – “What’s past is prologue” for Livermore Shakespeare Festival as they prepare to say goodbye to Concannon Vineyard after their 2014 summer season. “We are grateful to Concannon for hosting our Shakespeare in the Vineyard program for the last seven summers. With their incredible generosity, we’ve grown to the point of attracting sold out audiences who, along with the performers, have cherished the idyllic evenings shared in front of the historic Victorian. We’ll miss our friends at Concannon, but look forward to the next stage of development for the company,” said Producing Artistic Director Lisa Tromovitch.

Shakespeare’s Associates, currently preparing for its 12th season of Shakespeare in the Vineyard, has enlisted the city’s top talent to help secure a new site for 2015. The professional theater company formed an ad hoc committee comprised of 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, Shakespeare’s Associates Board Chair Beth Trutner as well as Bay Area News Group columnist and instructor of English and Shakespeare at Las Positas College, Jim Ott. “We couldn’t be in better hands,” says Tromovitch. The ad hoc 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.

Katie Marcel, SA’s Managing Director stated, “Livermore Shakes has a solid foundation with a large base of patrons and an inspired and active board of directors. 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 5 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”.

“Livermore Shakes is a rare and wonderful treasure. Having the opportunity to experience Shakespeare and live theater in the vineyards is one of the reasons that this is a remarkable place to be. ” said Livermore Mayor John Marchand.

Playing at Concannon Vineyard this summer is William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and an adaptation, by Christina Calvit, of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Livermore Shakespeare Festival 2014 runs June 19 – July 20 under the stars at Concannon Vineyard. Tickets on sale now at or(925) 443-BARD.

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May 20, 2013
Contact: Katie Marcel, Administrative Director

No Men in Tights in this Shrew

LIVERMORE – Director Gary Armagnac cuts to the chase when he describes “The Taming of the Shrew,” opening June 27 at Concannon Vineyard in Livermore.

Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s summer selection has often been called a “problem play” for modern audiences, bumping up against the feminist issues of our age. But Armagnac says at heart the play is primarily “a wonderful romantic comedy.” In fact, he says, it could be an ancestor to the great screwball comedies of decades ago,” with handsome heroes and headstrong heroines who were a match for each other. That’s also Shakespeare’s blueprint for his willful, sharp-witted characters in this play, Petruchio and Katarina, the “shrew” of the title.

And like those old movies, love is definitely in the air. “One of the first things that hit me on rereading the play was that all the men and women want to get married,” Armagnac says. “It reminded me of when the men came home from World War II.” The postwar era was a time for fitting back into society. Johnny came marching home and had to make a living. Rosie the Riveter was expected to retire and find happiness in a rose-covered cottage. The battle of the sexes took a breather, at least on the surface.

Moving the setting from 16th century Padua to America in the late 1940s seemed like a natural for his production, says Armagnac, a veteran professional actor and director. The play will open on a big welcome home party for the returning G.I.’s, some still in uniform. When Katarina, played by Jennifer LeBlanc, enters, she’ll be carrying a bushel of grapes, singing “The Man I Love,” the wistful old Ella Fitzgerald favorite.

And perhaps, she’ll be channeling the spirit of Katherine Vajda, California’s first female winemaker, who created Concannon wines from 1950 to 1960. “She was a very strong woman in breaking through the glass ceiling,” says Armagnac, delighted to make the connection between the two gutsy Katherines. (Older residents will remember Vajda as a woman of many talents. She was a ballet dancer in Austria before she emigrated to America, and in addition to her winemaking career she was an interior designer for many young Livermore families.)

Some traditionalists will miss the pumpkin pants and neck ruffs of Elizabethan-style Shakespeare productions. But Armagnac promises “spectacular” costumes of the Late Forties era. This period also helps to keep the characters more identifiable, wearing clothes of their trades and stations in life. It also helps mark the passage of time, as the returning G.I.’s shed their uniforms for sports shirts and slacks.

As rehearsals begin, Armagnac is feeling lucky for his “spectacular” cast, headed by seasoned actors LeBlanc as Katarina and Armando McClain as her money-hungry suitor, Petruchio. The two were cast together in LSF’s 2011 production of Macbeth, with McClain in the title role and LeBlanc as his ambitious wife. LeBlanc also had roles in LSF’s The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard, and Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

As to that troublesome ending, where a submissive-sounding Katarina lectures the other women on their wifely duties and their husbands’ virtues, Armagnac concedes that finding the right interpretation is “a tough nut to crack.” But he believes it will be both believable and palatable to the audience.

“I think Kate is a person who has never been loved and feels unlovable,” he says. Her father dotes on his younger daughter, there is no mother in the family, and no one else in her life. Then Petruchio shows up “to wive it wealthily” in Padua. “He never once abuses her, physically or verbally,” Armagnac says. “He does point out what’s unacceptable in polite society. By the end of the play he hasn’t beaten her and she hasn’t given up. There’s give and take on both sides.” Neither of them are expecting love in the marriage. They end up with much more than they bargained for.

Armagnac predicts the play’s ending is bound to spark some lively discussions, not only about sex roles but also about how the conformity of the late Forties and Fifties came about. “But, he adds, “the emphasis is on romance. Mainly, it’s going to be fun.”
William Shakespeare’s comic look at the battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Liar, adapted by David Ives from a 17th century comedy by Pierre Corneille comprise the Livermore Shakespeare Festival 2013 season. The productions play in repertory June 20 – July 21 under the stars at Concannon Vineyard. Tickets on sale now. May 22nd and May 29th Artists at Swirl on the Square events offer an opportunity to have an intimate experience with the artists over glass of wine and appetizers. Visit or call 925-443-2273 (BARD) for more information.



June 19, 2012
Contact: Katie Marcel

2012 Bard and Bravo Celebrates the Arts in the Vineyards

LIVERMORE – Livermore Shakespeare Festival and Livermore Valley Opera team up to bring you Bard and Bravo!
Come celebrate Shakespeare’s Associates’ 10th Anniversary of Shakespeare in the Vineyard by attending their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark at 7:30 pm Saturday, July 14. Performed atConcannon Vineyard, bring a picnic or visit the Underdog Wine Bar for wine and small plates.

Next, wrap up the weekend by attending Livermore Valley Opera’s Opera in the Vineyard performance of selected arias from their upcoming season at 5 pm Sunday, July 15. Opera in the Vineyard takes place next door at Retzlaff Vineyards, where you can again bring your own picnic, or purchase gourmet pizza from Soleil Wood Fired Pizza.  An innovative feature offered is “Arias a la carte”.  Famous arias, ordered from a menu, can be purchased to be sung at your table or directed to a friend. It has proven to be very entertaining.

See for more information on Livermore Shakespeare Festival and for information on Livermore Valley Opera.

Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor run in partial rep July 12 through August 12. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 7 pm.  Tickets range from $25 to $39, day-dependent with discounts for seniors, students, and educators.  For more information, visit Tickets are on sale through Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or via


May 14, 2012
Contact: Katie Marcel

Shakespeare Festival launch fundraiser for new stage

LIVERMORE – Livermore Shakespeare Festival needs a 10th anniversary present—enough money to rebuild its outdoor stage at Concannon Vineyard.

The raised wooden stage, which had been safely stored during the winter, was damaged in last summer’s surprise rainstorm. The wood was soaked, warped and delaminated and the supporting structures suffered extensive water damage. Temporary fixes got the stage through the 2011 season. Now the company must rebuild it for the coming season, opening in July with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

“The stage must be in excellent condition to provide a safe performing platform for the actors,” notes Producing Artistic Director Lisa Tromovitch, “and to enhance sightlines and sound for the audience.”

The goal is to raise $9,000 to rebuild the stage, which is installed in front of a landmark Victorian home on the Concannon property during performances. With government and private grants drying up, the Festival is asking forthe support of the Tri-Valley community.

Making use of modern technology, Livermore Shakespeare Festival has joined Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. To join the effort, supporters can go to, select “Livermore” from a list of participating cities, find details of the reconstruction project and, if they choose, make a contribution.

“Once rebuilt, the stage will last for at least five years,” says Tromovitch. “Join us this summer at Concannon to see a fine Shakespeare production on a stage you helped us to build.”

The 2012 Livermore Shakespeare Festival will run July 12 through August 12 at Concannon Vineyard. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 7 pm. Tickets range from $25-$39, day-dependent with discounts for seniors, students, and educators. For more information, visit


PHOTO BY Kenneth Alexander Weddings and Portraits.
Patrick Jones and Michael Wayne Rice in Hamlet, 2012.
Directed by Lisa A. Tromovitch.
Costumes by Kathleen Lowe.