Tucked inside the Hellems Arts and Sciences Building is the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, named after the first female professor at the University of Colorado and the first woman in the U.S. to teach at a state university. The Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre was officially completed in 1939, but no plays were staged there until 1944, when Shakespeare teacher and bibliographer James Sandoe was asked to direct a play for the coming summer. Because the Department of the Navy occupied the indoor University Theatre during World War II, Sandoe decided to try out the new Mary Rippon complex with a production of "Romeo and Juliet", thereby starting the tradition that would grow into the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Relax in comfort with complimentary seatbacks at all outdoor Colorado Shakespeare Festival shows.
Enjoying outdoor theatre
We perform rain or shine! Attending an outdoor show in the Boulder foothills can be unpredictable. Come prepared to enjoy the adventure by reviewing our weather policy and attire suggestions below.
Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre Entry
The Hellems Building opens one hour prior to all performances for ticketed patrons, with seating in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre to begin approximately 30 minutes prior to the show. Please have your tickets easily accessible for scanning at the exterior doors. Prior to the building opening, restrooms can be found near the box office in the University Theatre Building.
Boulder residents can catch a number of local buses to campus, including the Skip, Dash, 204, 225, Hop and Stampede.
Denver metro residents can catch the Flatiron Flyer, serving the Highway 36 corridor between Denver Union Station and the CU Boulder Campus.
Longmont residents can catch the Bolt into Downtown Boulder and transfer to any of the local bus routes mentioned above to reach the CU Boulder campus.
You can ride right up to the show, as all CU Presents venues have banks of outdoor bike racks nearby. Using Google Maps for directions is easy: just type in your starting point and destination and select the bicycle symbol.
Don't have your own wheels? Boulder B-cycle's easy, affordable bike-sharing system boasts 41 bike stations located around town and on the CU Boulder campus.
Skateboards are not allowed inside our venues, but it's easy and free to store your board nearby. A skateboard rack is located on the east side of CU Boulder's courtyard fountain, just outside the Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry lecture hall. From there, it's a quick walk west to the Rippon. Don't forget to bring your own lock!
Whether you're coming from down the street or from out of town, CU Boulder Parking and Transportation has various parking options for you. Pay for parking at the pay stations, or download the Parkmobile smartphone app for quick, easy parking reservation and payment.
Live caption and audio description services
If you are planning to attend the event and require these accommodations, please call or email the box office at 303-492-8008 or [email protected] to reserve the service at least two (2) weeks in advance of the performance date. Reservations for this service should be made at the time of ticket purchase to ensure the best seating for this service.
Wheelchair and companion seating
Wheelchair seating is available. Please call the box office at 303-492-8008 to purchase tickets and to make arrangements should you need assistance into the theatre on the day of the performance. When purchasing tickets, please be sure to identify whether you need wheelchair accommodations. The Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre has a ramp providing direct access from Hellems building into the seating area from the west entrance.
Assisted listening devices
Assistive listening devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis upon request from the house manager or ushers. Quantities are limited. We'll ask for a credit card or driver's license as a deposit, which will be returned to you after the performance. The University Theatre Box Office is located on the lower level of the University Theatre Building, directly below the indoor performance venue. To access it, use the main building entrance and take the stairs on the left down one flight, or enter on the building's east side and ride the elevator down to the bottom floor. Please be sure to ask for an assistive listening device before the show begins since the box office is closed for the duration of each performance.
American Sign Language interpretation
CSF offers American Sign Language interpretation for our productions. Please email the box office at [email protected] at least two (2) weeks in advance of the performance date, location, and number of people needing the service to make arrangements. Typically, ASL interpretation is scheduled for the duration of the show only. If you would like continued services through any scheduled talkbacks, please communicate this clearly to the box office.
Service dogs are welcome at all performances. Please request an aisle seat when purchasing tickets.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival does not permit children under 5 at any performance.
We perform rain or shine! Attending an outdoor show in the Boulder foothills can be unpredictable. Come prepared to enjoy the adventure by reviewing our weather policy and attire suggestions.
Decisions on whether to cancel for inclement weather usually are not made until curtain time. Performances will proceed in the rain, unless weather conditions become threatening to performers or the audience.
Because evening weather in the foothills can be somewhat unpredictable, please check the weather report before you come and dress for the forecast. We recommend that you wear what makes you feel comfortable for the outdoor show-going experience, whether it’s shorts and a t-shirt or a suit and tie. You might want a jacket after sunset or need to bring rain gear. (Umbrellas and other items that might block someone's view are prohibited. Grab your poncho or rain slicker instead!)
In the event that the entire CU Boulder campus is closed due to weather, CSF will notify patrons via the website and box office telephone and will provide instructions for ticket exchanges.
Food and drink
No glass containers are permitted in the theatre. The University of Colorado prohibits outside alocholic beverages from being brought onto campus, so please leave all alcohol at home.
Smoking or vaping
Smoking or vaping is not permitted anywhere on the CU Boulder campus.
Large baskets and bags are not permitted inside of any CSF venue, so please leave those items at home or in your car. Open umbrellas are not permitted during outdoor performances in any part of the seating area, including the back row; in case of rain, consider bringing a poncho or other wearable raingear.
Latecomers will be seated during a suitable break or during intermission. No exceptions. Please arrive well before the event start time.
Any light or sound (including vibration) emitting from cell phones or other electronic devices is disruptive and disrespectful to performers and other audience members. All personal devices—cell phones, pagers, tablets, watch alarms, etc.—should be turned off or silenced and put away before the performance begins.
By contractual agreement with the artists, photographs and audio or video recordings are strictly prohibited.
To ensure your safety in case of fire or any other emergency, please note the exit route nearest to your seat when you arrive. Do not walk on top of the stone benches in the theatre.
Night of show box office for ticketed events
If you have emailed tickets
Please proceed directly to the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre where an usher will assist you. Emailed tickets can be printed out or displayed on a mobile device for entry.
If you have will call tickets
Please visit the box office window located in the basement of the University Theatre Building. Window opens one hour before performances.
If you lost your tickets
Please visit the box office window located in the basement of the University Theatre Building or contact us in advance.
Learn all about plays in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 2023 season from the experts: our dramaturgs. This informal lecture series is a great w...