In early September, a group of kayaks and boats will gather in Sausalito to watch a uniquely Bay Area performance of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays. The floating show features a multi-generational cast, including students and classically trained actors who have come together to perform on the water.
Shakespeare on the Water’s 2nd production will have two water performances on September 9 and 10. An abridged version of the iconic A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed on the water with scenic Sausalito as the backdrop. The show includes live music from local musicians and a sound system to ensure guests can hear every word from their boats.
The play has been shortened to an hour to accommodate the unusual seating arrangements; creators figured that watching a long show from a kayak might deter some guests. Boats are welcome, although a kayak will provide the best view of the play. Shakespeare on the Water is partnering with Seatrek, a kayak rental service, for the performances, and if you mention the play, a discount will be applied on your rental.
If kayaking seems daunting, you’re in luck; a gala land show has been added to the lineup on Thursday, September 7. The play will be performed at the Sausalito Arts Center, featuring a cocktail hour before the hour-long performance. The gala performance’s proceeds will go to support Shakespeare on the Water.
Theater during COVID
Shakespeare on the Water was an idea born during the pandemic. While theaters were pausing productions, Professional actress Isabelle Ellingson decided to get creative. The idea for the floating show came about as a way for fellow actors and friends to get involved in a production that could be performed for an audience in a COVID-safe way.
Ellingson, a Bay Area native, wanted to find a way to bring theater to the Sausalito community, both as an opportunity for professional actors to get involved and for students looking to gain theater experience. Now that social distancing measures are no longer in place, the 2nd show continues out of love for the arts and the community.
The show is fiscally sponsored by Marin Made, a non-profit that focuses on education through creativity.
Tickets are available online; the water shows cost $20, and gala tickets cost $60. The exact location will be provided after purchasing the tickets. Sausalito is accessible from San Francisco by car or a short ferry ride.