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Who gets to see Shakespeare and act in his plays?  Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s extraordinary legacy, Lisa Wolpe and James Shapiro will explore the defining guidelines of performing his work today, and consider how and why Shakespeare still matters in contemporary America. Wolpe, actress, director, teacher, and producer, is the Artistic Director and founder of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, an award-winning all-female, multi-cultural theater company. James Shapiro, professor at  Columbia University , is the author of numerous books and essays on Shakespeare, including his most recent work, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. Join these two Shakespeare aficionados on an enlightening journey of what this master means to us today.

*Presented as part of The Library Foundation’s new exhibition, “America’s Shakespeare: The Bard Goes West.

James Shapiro

James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1985.  His books include Shakespeare and the Jews (1996), recently republished in a 20th anniversary edition; 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), Contested Will (2010), the anthology Shakespeare in America (2014), and The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 (2015). He has also co-authored and presented two BBC documentaries: Shakespeare: The King’s Man and The Mysterious Mr. Webster. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library, is Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at New York’s Public Theater, and has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Lisa Wolpe

Lisa Wolpe is an actress, director, teacher & playwright, and is the Artistic Director of Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. Honors include the Shakespeare Theater Association’s “Sidney Berger Award”, “Sustained Excellence” awards from the L.A. Drama Critic’s and from Playwrights Arena, the Key to Harlem, a Congressional Certificate of Merit; NBC News’ “Local Hero”, Jacob Bronowski Award for Theater Excellence, Whittier College’s Distinguished Artist Award, Colorado Shakespeare “First Scholar” and UC Boulder’s “Roe Green Distinguished Scholar”. Acting credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, San Diego Repertory Theater.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main image:  License plate from the collection of the Shakespeare Society of America


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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