Free Shakespeare performances in Southern California 1

I’m visiting a friend in San Pedro, California so tonight…
    I got to see Shakespeare By The Sea, an excellent performance of The Winter’s Tale.

I even got to see it at this company’s original location — actually at the sea (actually, the Pacific Ocean) in San Pedro’s Point Fermin Park, just feet away from the Point Fermin Lighthouse.

How’s this for a place to come, walk around, picnic, love the view, and then see a great Shakespeare play performed really well — all for free!

Shakespeare By The Sea location

The location is amazing

No reservations required. No ticket to apply for. Just show up.

We brought a tarp, expecting to sit on the grass/ground but we arrived early enough for a bench to be available. We sat somewhere behind this fabulous tree.

The set and seating for Shakespeare By The Sea's production of A Winter's Tale in San Pedro's Point Fermin Park

The stage and audience as people arrived

A great guy named Mike (who generously cooks weekly for Meals on Wheels) sells food there so as planned, my friend and I each enjoyed his hot pastrami sandwich and chips for $6. (Confession: I had a 2nd at intermission.)

So the play…
Fantastic. Minimal set. Beautiful costuming. Old English but spoken so it was understandable. Drama, comedy, oh-no moments… I was engrossed. Cold in my thin Marmont raincoat, warmer after Vicky bought a souvenir blanket that covered my lap post-intermission, but despite the cold, I was fully engrossed in the happenings on stage.

Shakespeare By The Sea The Winters Tale Cast & Producers after the show

Cast and producers after the performance

I didn’t take photos during the play.

(I wouldn’t think of it at any show but with this one, I particularly had to listen to every word, every moment. No words were wasted.)

So, here’s a photo of the cast and producers taken after the performance.


Shakespeare By The Sea logo

San Pedro, by the way, is a nice place to spend a day if you like a small town area with free parking and great water views.

Just .2 miles (321 meters) up Gaffy Street is the the Korean Friendship Bell, and a tad past that is Fort MacArthur military museum.

The Battleship USS Iowa Museum is here, near Ports O’Call Village. (Ports O’Call is about to be remodeled though, I’m sorry to say.)

Away from the water if you have a car and like good 60’s-70’s style family Chinese food, I can recommend Shin Shin Chinese at 1432 W 8th St, San Pedro, CA 90732.

Learn more about Shakespeare By The Sea

You can learn more at

Tonight was just the 2nd night of the season which runs through August 18, so if you’ll be in the area, you have time to plan.

Shakespeare By The Sea has been running for 21 years (launched in 1998). It’s a Free Summer Festival is open to everyone. Besides Point Fermin Park, it has expanded to play in 23 locations. (It opens and closes in the same location.)

  1. San Pedro: Point Fermin Park
  2. Aliso Viejo: Soka University
  3. Beverly Hills: Roxbury Park
  4. Carson: CSU, Dominguez Hills
  5. Encino: Los Encinos State Historic Park
  6. Hermosa Beach: Valley Park
  7. La Mirada: La Mirada Regional Park
  8. Laguna Niguel: Crown Valley Park
  9. Lakewood: Monte Verde Park
  10. Long Beach: Cesar Chavez Park
  11. Manhattan Beach: Polliwog Park
  12. Mission Viejo: Potocki Center for the Arts
  13. Rancho Palos Verdes: Hesse Park
  14. Rancho Palos Verdes: Terranea
  15. Rossmoor: Rush Park
  16. Rowland Heights: Schabarum Park
  17. San Pedro: Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles
  18. Santa Ana: Birch Park
  19. Seal Beach: Eisenhower Park
  20. South Pasadena 1: Garfield Park
  21. Torrance: Wilson Park Amphitheater
  22. South Pasadena 2: Garfield Park
  23. Whittier: Adventure Park
  24. San Pedro: Point Fermin Park – Closing Nights


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One thought on “Free Shakespeare performances in Southern California

  • Vickey Kalambakal

    Excellent review of an excellent play and venue. Shakespeare By the Sea will be in San Pedro through July 7, then takes off to tour the Southland. It returns to San Pedro for two final performances (one each of Winter’s Tale and Merry Wives of Windsor) on August 17 and 18.