September 18, 2016

Starring: Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and many many more


Simply Shakespeare 2014 - Paul McCartney and the crew

Each year since 1990, Tom Hanks and actress andwife Rita Wilson, have partnered up with the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and its founder/director Ben Donenberg to put on an event called Simply Shakespeare, in which Oscar winners, Tony winners and Grammy winners unite for a night of impromptu Shakespeare and song. All proceeds from the ticket sales, which can cost up to thousands of dollars, are used by the SCLA to continue to build and expand our youth, veteran and future community programs, eventually to host a totally FREE, outdoor Shakespeare Festival for all.


Simply Shakespeare is an annual signature event that raises awareness and funds to benefit The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles programs.


Scaling of Will Power to Youth - The plans for our theatrical performances and engagements of at-risk poverty level high school students and vets in our productions have greatly evolved into an exciting "mandala" of Shakespeare culture in our diverse region.  We are also expanding our program Will Power to Youth, through a Linked Learning grant with LAUSD, growing the program from 30 young adults to 500 in the next 3 years.  To date, we have employed more than 1,200 youth, disbursed more than $600,000 in wages and provided more than 3,000 graded accredited academic hours towards high school graduation. Promotion of the Shakespeare Festival and the SMC’s Theatre program will allow these hard-working, passionate young adults to transition into a career path that supports the arts.

Establishing a World-Class Theatre Company  - The opportunity to have an intimate performance with A-list artists and productions will be a huge draw and help to support the notion that Los Angeles has a strong, diverse and successful arts community, equal to NYC or London.  We are in also advanced discussions  on expanding the SMC Shakespeare Apprentice Company with the SMC Theatre Arts Dept., allowing the transition from theatre students to theatre professionals, earning credits and points to joining the union.  No other community college or four year university will have an opportunity or program like this.

Veterans Work-Readiness Training -  Santa Monica College currently offers a veterans educational outreach program which goes hand-in-hand with our own Veterans in Art Employment program, enabling these students to work on the student and professional productions, gaining new skills and contributing to the economy.  Specifically they will work with us during the summer festival will receive career-developing professional experience in addition to academic credit for their work.  Over the first three pilot years, SCLA has created transitional employment for 76 chronically unemployed veterans, 24 of whom report securing ongoing employment for the first time in more than four years.  The existing SMC Veteran program will go hand in hand with our program and help us expand the opportunities and positive life-changing experiences for those who have given their lives for our freedom. 

MOMENTS FROM OUR 25 Years of Simply Shakespeare