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The seed that grew into the California Shakespeare Festival (CSF) was planted in June 1973 when a group of Berkeley actors performed Hamlet in local churches. After a few more productions, the group, calling itself the Emeryville Shakespeare Company after the location of its rehearsal space contracted with Berkeley's Department of Parks and Recreation to produce the first Berkeley Shakespeare Festival in North Berkeley's John Hinkel Park in 1974.
Now after 25 years and much success, CSF continues to develop and grow as a community resource. CSF is one of only four Bay Area theatres operating under a League of Resident Theatres contract, along with ACT, Berkeley Rep and San Jose Rep. CSF is now firmly established as one of the premiere summer cultural events in the Bay Area.