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The Colorado Shakespeare Festival was established in 1958, being one of the oldest such festivals in the USA, its roots are going as far back as the early 1900s. Every summer, the festival gathers about 25,000 people and features the works of Shakespeare as well as classics and contemporary plays. The main festival venues are the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater and indoor University Theater.
The festival has roots in the college plays at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1900s, when senior classes performed under cottonwood trees planted in the 1870s on the east lawn of campus. In 1936, the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater was built, which has become one of the main venues of the festival.
At present, the festival features epic love stories, family dramas and comedies every summer. In 2018 its highlight was “Love’s Labor's Lost,” a classic play about the struggle between love and reason. There was also an epic “Richard III” performance inside the University Theater. For the first time, two non-Shakespeare plays were added. “Cyrano de Bergerac” and the 1930s comedy “You Can’t Take it With You” were played in the University Theater.