Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum

(310) 455-2322
District Partners
Grades Served
Historical & Cultural Context
Arts Integration Subjects
Special Education

To elevate, educate, and entertain audiences of all ages by presenting thought-provoking classics, socially relevant plays, and education programs in a beautiful, natural outdoor sanctuary for the arts. By passing on a sense of history to young people and adults alike, great works of art inform their present and inspire their future. A true renaissance theatre, we offer (at affordable prices) a diversity of programming from Shakespeare to poetry; from folk music to the development of future playwrights – all to help understand the world we live in and to embrace our shared humanity.

In the 1950s, Will Geer was blacklisted. His career shattered, the artist/botanist sold vegetables, presented Shakespeare, and played music with friends such as Woody Guthrie and John Randolph at his family home in Topanga. The seeds of the Theatricum Botanicum were planted. In 1978 Geer passed away. Daughter Ellen grew Theatricum into an Equity theatre and launched the Academy of the Classics and School Programs. An L.A. cultural landmark, Theatricum has been serving the patrons, families and students of the greater Los Angeles area for over 40 years.

Student Programming:

School Programs
School Days Field Trip Program
Offered for 5 weeks each spring and two weeks each fall, students (K-12) and teachers from public, private, parochial and special needs schools travel to Theatricum’s outdoor amphitheatre to see a full production of a Shakespeare play, participate in an interactive Living History program featuring Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, and engage in technique workshops. Prior to the field trip, students receive an in-school preparatory visit and teachers receive an extensive study guide and are invited to participate in a professional development workshop. Schools are charge a per-pupil fee to participate (range of prices based on size of group). Chaperones are free at a rate of 1/20 students and $15 each after that.

Classroom Enrichment
Theatricum offers extensive arts education programming in the schools in the following categories: Assemblies (American History Concert-style assemblies, Living History visits, Shakespeare plays, and Children’s Literature); Workshops (juggling, combat, dance, text, music, ensemble, etc.); Residencies (Students Act the Classics - students are directed by Theatricum artist-educators in edited versions of Shakespeare plays; Classics off-the-Page - individually designed curriculum – including workshops and performances - created to bring a particular text “off-the-page” for a classroom or student group; and Americana off-the-Page - individually designed curriculum – including workshops and performances - created to bring a particular period in American History “off-the-page” for a classroom or student group). Programs are tailored for each teacher’s needs (budget, schedule, curricular) and are brought directly to the school site.