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The show must go on: Idaho Shakespeare Festival going to mostly full capacity for 2021 season

The schedule includes three plays on the stage, and pre-show mini-concerts in the meadow. The Boise summer tradition returns after a 2020 season that was canceled.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is back on for the 2021 season, with some changes related to COVID-19 concerns as well as changes that encourage patrons to explore more of the riverside grounds off of Warm Springs Avenue.

The outdoor theater in Boise will have full capacity in most seating areas, except for the general admission hillside.

The hillside will be limited to half capacity, "to allow space for patrons who would prefer a bit more ease surrounding them this season," according to an email update from festival organizers.

Also for hillside seating, the festival's rental chairs will be available for free this season. You are also welcome to bring your own low-backed lawn chair.

The terrace is now outfitted with new chairs, so people who sit there will not need to bring their own chairs.

As for masks, they are recommending them for entrance to the theater and throughout the grounds, unless you are eating or drinking in your seat.

Three plays are currently on the calendar for the festival's 2021 season. It will open July 8, with "Sleuth," a play by Anthony Shaffer. "The Tempest," by William Shakespeare, will open August 12. "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" is set to open on September 10.

This year's three-play season is different from others, which typically have featured five plays. Tickets for the 2020 season were not carried over to 2021, and the festival recently completed reconfiguring and rebooking for subscribers who purchased tickets in advance, before the season was shortened from five plays to three.

All tickets will be on sale Monday - including three-show season-ticket packages as well as single tickets.

The will-call line will be set up for physical distancing, and the festival is "investigating the possibility" of a print-at-home ticket option to help ease congestion at the box office.

The 2021 festival will also have mini-concerts starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the meadow alongside the patio.

"It's fun because we have lots of changes in terms of things that are exciting, not necessarily things in terms of things that are not all related to COVID," said Hannah Read Newbill, marketing director for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. "We had time to think about and change things in the theater that we don't usually have the ability to do, and we are so glad to have that bright side in having that time off."

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has produced a video showing what it will be like to visit the festival grounds this summer.  

Sarah and David Kelly are operating Café Shakespeare by Act 3 - the onsite food and drink concession - with "European-inspired picnic fare and elevated nostalgic concession food."

RELATED: Popular Idaho festivals, events prepare to return following cancellation in 2020

RELATED: Idaho Shakespeare Festival cancels first two productions of the 2020 season

RELATED: EXPLAINER: Why Broadway is waiting until fall to reopen

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