Skip navigation

The City Shakespeare Company

Contemporary. Accessible. Riveting.


Audiences are raving on Yelp. Read the reviews here.


ROMEO & JULIET establishes CityShakes as Santa Monica’s home for Shakespeare.

SCREAMfmLondon calls CityShakes “a great asset to the community — it continues to offer simple, relatable and charming adaptations of Shakespeare’s classics.” Read the whole review here.

The Santa Monica Daily Press: “CityShakes shows a new love for a classic romance story.” Read the whole article here.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is “an outstanding artistic production.”

Arts blogger Casey O’Lear says, “this production’s excellence lies in its brilliantly-executed comedy. The supporting cast is as strong as the leads, and the jokes land effortlessly.” Read the whole review here




City Shakes in artLA

Traditional Meets Contemporary To Promote The Arts

City Shakes is on a mission, and that mission is to bring the arts to the hoi polloi in an accessible, real, and novel way in the physical realm. In a world that is tilting more and more towards becoming a “virtual- centric” environment City Shakes founders Allison Volk and Brooke Bishop are determined to invigorate audiences with clever adaptations of starting, appropriately enough, with a levity infused presentation on Thursday, February 14 of The Taming of the Shrew. This Valentine’s Day treat will be the perfect way for anyone to celebrate the occasion with something fun and different.

artla February 2013

Allison and Brooke hit upon the idea of forming City Shakes during a conversation one day when they both realized how so many people perceive theater to be a dying art form, noting that oftentimes ticket prices are exceedingly high compared with attending a movie, for example. They also were cognizant of the fact that a live performance always seems to create a stronger connection with the audience, and that it promotes a sense of community that watching.

In deciding to feature the works of Shakespeare in their mission to bring art and culture to the masses Allison told us, “people are so afraid of Shakespeare! Really Shakespeare’s work is bawdy, ridiculous, and clever; it’s meant for the people.” Brooke added that, “the text is the most entertaining, immediate, visceral, and conjuring that I know, including the stories and the characters, not just the pretty language.” Allison and Brooke both like the challenge of making it easy to understand, funny, and entertaining. They want to show people that Shakespeare is something they can really enjoy.

This pair of energetic charitable entrepreneurs intends to expand upon the established concept of theater being in the truest of terms, a collage of art forms, by utilizing more than one art form per event. City Shakes has taken the novel and clever approach of teaming up with The James Gray Gallery (one of the most respected art galleries in Southern California), located in Santa Monica’s famed Bergamot Station Arts Center as a way of creating something new, unique and exciting. When asked about their interpretations and the forthcoming presentation of Shrew at The James Gray Gallery, Allison said that, “there are many artistic elements that go into a theater production. Usually all these other art forms the text and aren’t highlighted. Our events put all these forms on equal ground, so one isn’t more important than the other,” she added that they were, “performing The Shrew in the James Gray Gallery, so audience members will be surrounded original music by Aaron Beaumont, and of course there’s the actors performing Shakespeare.”

City Shakes is passionately determined is to become a theater company that functions in bringing the arts to many different communities in the long term. “Brooke and I both have a fantasy of putting on a show at the Getty – but not in their traditional theater space, somewhere in the actual museum itself that people aren’t expecting,” Allison said, adding that, “we want to break out of the traditional theater space and show people how much fun live performance can be in a way she secretly wants to do Macbeth but “hasn’t told Brooke yet…maybe for Halloween?”).

City Shakes unique Shrew will be presented at the James Gray Gallery, 2525 Michigan Avenue, D4, Santa Monica, CA 90404, on Valentine’s Day, Thursday February 14, at 7:00 p.m. Attendance is FREE and seating reservations can be made by sending an email to:

– Christopher Curtis

Santa Monica Mirror Article


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: