Family Friendly Shakespeare Performances + Tips

To see, or not to see, that is the question: Whether 'tis comedy or tragedy; your budding Bard will be delighted to experience Shakespeare performances in an outdoor setting or theatre. Here are some great opportunities to catch quality Shakespeare performances that is engaging, accessible and appealing equally to adults and children.

African-American Shakespeare Company


The Winter’s Tale explores the unsteady, unsettling, poisonous realm of jealousy and distrust as a childhood friendship is irrevocably torn apart by a grievous misunderstanding.

King Leontes of Sicilia accuses his pregnant wife, Hermione, of infidelity with best friend and fellow King of neighboring Bohemia, Polixenes. His rage and misguided tyranny results in the plot to have the King of Bohemia killed, banish the newborn baby girl, imprison his innocent wife, and turn his stunned staff and nation against him. Directed by Artistic Director of AASC, L. Peter Callender, this study of love, jealousy, tyranny and ultimate forgiveness will bring all the complicated plot twists, memorable characters and one of Shakespeare’s most magical and romantic and unforgettable endings to life. #WintersTaleAASC

$30, General Seating
Brown Paper Tickets
Customer Service avail. 24/7

Fri, June 9 at 7:30pm
Sat, June 10 at 3pm & 8pm
Sun, June 11 at 3pm
Sat, June 17 at 3pm & 8pm
Sun, June 18 at 3pm

Taube Atrium Theater
401 Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Marin Shakespeare Company

 Dameion Brown and Elena Wright

Dameion Brown and Elena Wright

Much Ado About Nothing

Dates: June 30 – July 23
Previews: June 23, 24, 25

Shakespeare’s perennially popular romantic romp proves love really does triumph over all. Dameion Brown and Elena Wright star as Shakespeare’s romantic misfits. A comedy for this and all ages!

The Three Musketeers

Dates: August 4 – 27
Previews July 28, 29, 30

The hot-headed D’Artagnan and his misfit Musketeer mates serve the King with swashbuckling zeal through a series of dashing and exciting exploits.  A comic adventure for the whole family to enjoy. One for all, and all for one!

 Richard Pallaziol, Jackson Currier and Patrick Russell

Richard Pallaziol, Jackson Currier and Patrick Russell

Love's Labor's Lost

Dates: September 2 – 24
Preview September 1

Shakespeare’s glittering masterpiece of wordplay,  wit and war-of-the-sexes fun tells the story of four young couples who may or may not find love, amidst broken vows, disguises, and comic confusion.  Will love’s labours be lost or won?

 Braedyn Youngberg

Braedyn Youngberg

Theatre Rhinoceros

King Lear


Dates: July 8-9
Time: 7-8pm
Location: Yerba Buena Gardens

Theatre Rhinoceros may be the world’s longest running professional queer theater company, but their satire hasn’t lost a bit of its bite.

Lear! is an original outdoor musical of Shakespeare’s King Lear with the various locales in the park serving as the playing area. The story is updated to contemporary San Francisco with Lear as the ex-Mayor trying to leave behind a political legacy by passing off his power base to his three political cronies/daughters. As in the original play, the daughter who loves him most is the one he treats the worst and he ends up alone and miserable trying to win back power. The musical uses a cast of twenty-five and move in performance, as with Titus and Timon, using the natural settings provided by Yerba Buena Gardens.

Peripatetic Players

 Samuel Peaches (Casey Robbins) as Obi-Wan Peachobi uses mind tricks to elude a Storm Trooper played by Princess Gwen (Marlene Yarosh). Guy Hank (Paul Collins), playing Lank Guywalker, watches in amazement. Photo by Tim Guydish.

Samuel Peaches (Casey Robbins) as Obi-Wan Peachobi uses mind tricks to elude a Storm Trooper played by Princess Gwen (Marlene Yarosh). Guy Hank (Paul Collins), playing Lank Guywalker, watches in amazement. Photo by Tim Guydish.

Shakespeare Or Space Wars


Dates: July 8 – August 13
Time: 1pm
Location: Vary - see website for details

The Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players are an eccentric troupe of itinerant thespians who make a habit of intrepidly touring parks and public spaces in the Bay Area and Points West with FluxWagon, their folding mobile stage.

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival



San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is best-known for our outdoor Free Shakespeare in the Park productions, which travel to five different venues every year between July and October. 2017 marks the 35th Anniversary Season, we will present Hamlet at Pleasanton's Amador Valley Community Park, Cupertino's Memorial Park, Redwood City's Sequoia High School, the Presidio Main Post, and McLaren Park (both in San Francisco). 

Cupertino: Memorial Park Amphitheater
(Stevens Creek Blvd & Mary Ave)
July 22-Aug 6 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm

Redwood City: Grounds of Sequoia High School
(1201 Brewster Ave at Broadway)
Aug 12-27 on Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 4:00 pm

San Francisco: The Presidio’s Main Post Parade Ground Lawn
(between Graham St & Keyes Ave)
Sept 2-17 on Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday at 2:00 pm

San Francisco: McLaren Park’s Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
(40 John F. Shelley Dr)
Sept 23-Oct 1 on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm; PLUS: Sept 29, Friday at 10:00 am

What I love about this production is that these plays are always welcoming to families but this is a powerful subject and may not be suited to all young theatergoers. Bring a blanket to sit on. If you choose to bring your own chair, make sure it is a low-backed chair so the people behind you can see. 

Curtain Theatre

Molière's comedy "The Miser" 


This year the Curtain Theatre is mixing it up and giving a performance of Molière's comedy "The Miser." An old miser's love affair with money forces his children and servants to scheme their various ways around him in order to achieve their hearts' desires. Complications, surprises and hilarity ensue.

Old Mill Park Amphitheatre , Mill Valley
Four Weekends including Labor Day Monday
August 19 - September 10
Pre-show starts at 1:40pm, show starts at 2:00 pm 

What I love about this production is the live music, fun set, engaging performance punctuated with the modern references, in a beautiful setting. It can get cool in the redwoods. The singing is terrific and a laugh out loud funny cast. Chairs are provided. If your kid is getting fidgety, there is a playground and lovely creek to play in. This is a perfect first time Shakespeare experience. It's free, but plan on giving a donation, they do a fabulous job. 

Petaluma Shakespeare Company

Henry IV


PCS will present Henry IV, pt 1 this summer at the Foundry Wharf in Petaluma. (corner of H and 1st Streets)

Dates: August 25 - September 9
Fridays 7pm, Saturdays & Sundays 3pm

All shows are FREE! Bring your chairs and your picnic. Or purchase snacks and drinks at the show.

Foundry Wharf Green: H & 2nd Street, Petaluma

Six Tips When Taking Kids To See Outdoor Theater

1. Age recommendations depends on your child. I started taking my daughter when she was 4. She's now 13 and looks forward to seeing these performances every year. She did not always follow the language but was able to follow the plot. Consider how long they can sit and be engaged.

2. Discuss the story in advance. Even though kids won't understand all the language, they can still follow the action. Preparing them will help them understand who the main characters are and what the story line is.

3. Eat, Drink and Be Merry. Bring a picnic or purchase it at the performance. However crunchy foods like chips and crackers can be very distracting to your neighbors. Try to refrain from eating noisy foods during the performance.

4. Mother Nature is watching. Keep your food covered whenever possible, and be sure to dispose of your trash and recyclables. Food can attract some unwelcome visitors when in a natural setting.

5. Dress appropriately. Don't forget water and sunscreen. 

6. Be courteous. We are so lucky to experience these plays along with our neighbors. Infants and toddlers are always welcome but at least one parent or guardian should be prepared to take a break with them outside the theatre space if needed.