New Swan Theater

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The New Swan Theater is an outdoor, portable theater that is assembled and disassembled each summer as part of New Swan Shakespeare Festival[1], the annual Shakespeare festival at the University of California, Irvine. It is a reduced-size replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.


The theater was designed and constructed by the faculty and staff of UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts,[2] out of recycled materials.[3] It has 15 modular units, each weighing one ton.[4] The units are stored in the School of the Arts when the theater is not in use, and then moved to the university's Gateway Commons for use.[5]

The New Swan is styled as a mini-Elizabethan theater.[3] It is roof-less, with 127 seats on three levels, all set in the round and close to the stage.[6]


The theater was given a test run in February 2012 on the stage of the Claire Trevor Theatre at UCI for performances of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. The New Swan's first outdoor season was in August 2012 for performances of The Comedy of Errors and The Merchant of Venice.[7] In 2013 it featured King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream, with The Fantasticks.[8] In 2013 the New Swan Shakespeare Festival was presented with an Orange County Arts Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Built Environment.[9]

Its 2014 season featured Twelfth Night[10] and Romeo and Juliet.[5] In 2015 it showed Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing.[11] The 2016 season featured Hamlet and As You Like It,[12][13] and the 2017 season featured The Tempest and The Taming of the Shrew.[14][15][16] The seventh season in 2018 included performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Winter's Tale.[17][18]


  1. ^ "New Swan Shakespeare Festival website"
  2. ^ Hodgins, Paul (August 26, 2012), "Long-awaited theater finally rises on UC Irvine campus", Orange County Register
  3. ^ a b Miller, Michael (June 19, 2013), "Stage must rise before curtain", Daily Pilot
  4. ^ Okwuosa, Fallon, UC Irvine's School of Arts Moves 15-Ton Theatre For Shakespeare Festival, News 4 Southern California
  5. ^ a b "New Swan Shakespeare Festival returns to UC Irvine", Orange County Register, July 7, 2014
  6. ^ O'Connor, Sarah (August 15, 2014), "New Swan's 'Romeo & Juliet' is to Die For", New University
  7. ^ Jow, Lauren (July 21, 2012), "Shakespeare Under the Stars to open at UC Irvine", Orange County Register
  8. ^ Iliff, Anna (June 21, 2013), "'Intimate' Shakespearian experience at New Swan", Orange County Register
  9. ^ "State Arts Council Gets an Earful at Listening Tour Stop in OC". Arts Orange County.
  10. ^ Beers, Joel (August 7, 2014), "A Tale of Two Shakespeares", OC Weekly
  11. ^ Titus, Tom (July 2, 2015), "On Theater: UCI bringing Shakespeare into modern age", Daily Pilot, Los Angeles Times
  12. ^ Titus, Tom (July 7, 2016), "On Theater: UCI brushing up its Shakespeare", Daily Pilot, Los Angeles Times
  13. ^ Marchese, Eric (August 11, 2016), "New time and place make 'As You Like It' sparkle", Orange County Register
  14. ^ Titus, Tom (June 29, 2017), "On Theater: UCI's sixth New Swan Theater festival will feature 'Tempest' and 'Shrew'", Daily Pilot, Los Angeles Times
  15. ^ Marchese, Eric (August 8, 2017), "'Tempest' in Irvine sweeps us to a land where magic is the norm", Orange County Register
  16. ^ Marchese, Eric (August 1, 2017), "In Irvine, 'Shrew' pits rebel '70s against conformist '80s", Orange County Register
  17. ^ Titus, Tom (July 2, 2018), "Shakespeare under the stars returns to UCI with 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Winter's Tale'", Los Angeles Times
  18. ^ McNulty, Charles (August 7, 2018), "Review: 'Midsummer Night's Dream' with a lesbian twist at New Swan Shakespeare in Irvine", Los Angeles Times

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Coordinates: 33°38′41″N 117°50′34″W / 33.64472°N 117.8428°W / 33.64472; -117.8428