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Funding eliminated for some free Shakespeare by the Sea performances

May 26, 2009 |  1:22 pm

Shakespeare Shakespeare by the Sea, one of Southern California's cultural hallmarks of summer, is facing severe cuts as a result of budget reductions at two cities.

The company has presented free performances throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties since 1998. This year, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes has slashed arts funding across the board, including support for the company's July 5 performance of "As You Like It" at Fred Hesse Jr. Community Park.

In addition, Irvine has reduced its arts funding, forcing the company to cancel its scheduled performances there.

Lisa Coffi, producing artistic director of Shakespeare by the Sea, said the company has had to cut $80,000 from the season's original budget and still needs to raise $100,000 to cover the costs of the remaining shows. The company is seeking sponsorship to save the July 5 performance in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The troupe's season, which runs June 11 through Aug. 8, features productions of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "Love's Labour's Lost," as well as Sam Bobrick's "Hamlet II," at locations throughout Southern California such as Malibu, Manhattan Beach and Laguna Niguel.

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare ... Abridged." Credit: Shakespeare by the Sea