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We’re here to bring people together.

Just as performers have done for millennia, CityShakes brings people together around the universal human need to tell our stories and hear our stories told. We throw theatrical parties that are plays, picnics, art shows, hikes, circuses, and concerts.

We Believe…

…in Shakespeare. Harold Bloom says it better than we ever could: “The answer to ‘Why Shakespeare,” must be ‘Who else is there?” No dramatist, writer, or thinker, had ever created so many relatable, sympathetic, human characters, nor has since. Every play’s world is a microcosm of our own, containing complex, well-intentioned people who remind us of our selves.

…in Entertainment. Somehow “Shakespeare” has come to mean inaccessible language, academic drudgery, or at best, “high art.” Shakespeare boring? This is baffling to us at CityShakes, because we know that, when done well, Shakespeare’s plays are a blast! We promise to entertain our audiences with relatable characters and clear stories. You will eat, drink, laugh, ooh, aah, and maybe even cry, because we at CityShakes will settle for nothing less.

…in Community. CityShakes is dedicated to serving the community by hosting affordable, entertaining events. In an increasingly virtual digital world, the need for face time, not FaceTime, is greater than ever! At City Shakes, we strive to bring all kinds of artists together to work, play, and create together. Then, we invite all kinds of people to play the role of audience member and see what happens. A wise mentor once told us, “You don’t create a community happening. You are blessed to be witness to it.”

…in Presence. “Theatre”, both as a concept and a place, brings with it a host of connotations and expectations. We at CityShakes want you to join us in throwing the rulebook out the window. Forget the black box full of scenery and lights. Forget the obligations to sit down, stay quiet, and applaud politely. Presence means respect, attentiveness, and connection, but it also means openness, joy, and release. We break all the rules in our performances, and so we ask our audience members to conduct themselves with the same freedom.

…in Sustainability. In order to serve the community, we need to serve ourselves. We at CityShakes are dedicated to making our endeavors financially, energetically, and environmentally sustainable. We are in the process of moving away from our current donation-based model to finding a profitable business model that can fund our projects, without shifting the burden onto our patrons. We are also dedicated to moving away from the stipend system of paying our artists to actual compensation worthy of the passion and talent so abundant in our artistic community.

Who We Are:

559161_691811686692_917351742_n Allison Volk : Co-Founding Artistic Director 

Lady Capulet & Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet ; Portia, The Merchant of Venice ; Lady Macbeth, Macbeth ; Rosalind, As You Like It ; Katherine, Shrew

One of my favorite words is “prolific.” I believe in taking inspired action, creating opportunities for art and community, and connecting with others in a meaningful way. It took a while for Brooke and I to fully understand what we were creating with City Shakes; but it is just that: prolific, inspired, art- and community-based, and meaningful. When I moved to Los Angeles 6 years ago after completing my training at the National Theater Institute, I had no idea that I was in for an incredible journey of producing, acting, writing and learning. Though I’ve had my plays and film scripts produced on both coasts, I’m particularly excited about the feature film Brooke and I are working on, Heat of Deeds. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and set in the present-day. Shoots in Colorado fall 2014. Stay tuned!

More on Allison at


Brooke Bishop : Co-Founding Artistic Director

Director, Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, As You Like It, and Shrew

Brooke is an artist, educator, and lover of Shakespeare. Originally from Tampa, Florida, she has believed Shakespeare to be the voice of her generation ever since she saw Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo + Julietwhen she was nine years old. She went to Amherst College and somehow convinced the Theater & Dance Faculty there to let her direct a full-scale production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as her senior thesis, though she’d never directed before. Midsummer was a sold-out hit at the College and solidified Brooke’s belief that Shakespeare is for everyone. After graduating, in an effort to explode the boundaries of traditional theatre spaces, she founded Shakespeare on the Quad in Amherst, MA (director, 12th Night, and Beatrice in Much Ado), an outdoor theater company that brings free, accessible Shakespeare to the 5-College community. She worked at the California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley, CA, as casting assistant, and Assistant to Director Shana Cooper on her production of The Taming of the Shrew.Brooke has also directed and workshopped a number of new plays, assisted directors Lisa Peterson and Joy Carlin, was interviewed as a finalist for the 2012 Drama League Directors Project, and is an alumna of the O’Neill National Theater Institute. Brooke is also an experienced and passionate deviser of new works, costume and set designer, scenic painter and builder, stage manager, and dramaturg.



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