Artwork & Design

When Youth Shakespeare decides on the upcoming play, I have a conversation with the director to determine what concepts or imagery he would like to see for the related artwork. I come up with some ideas, and then work with him through various incarnations of one until we come to a well-thought-out design. When the final go-ahead is given, I begin work on the linocut artwork. Creating an original linocut artwork requires a lot of advance planning, carving, printing, and most of all, patience. I make as many prints as I can, and the best one becomes the artwork for the poster. I enjoy creating these unique works of art for Youth Shakespeare.

Design for the plays always includes flyers, posters, and the program. We work to involve kids in other processs of building the program. DuringMacbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Merchant of Venice, kids contributed writing, puzzles, and design work. In addition to print advertising, I have also made a pleasant project out of drawing on the gigantic whiteboard in the “Green Room” concessions area on which I thank all of our sponsors. For The Merchant of Venice one of our young men, John Torreano, took over the job!
Karen Macauley

Update: Find samples of Karen’s Shakespeare artwork published in Mirko Ilic and Stephen Heller’s book Presenting Shakespeare – 1,100 Posters From Around The World, published October, 2015 by Princeton Architectural Press.


The director, cast, and crew of our plays put in hours upon hours of rehearsal and preparation, so the goal of the publicity committee is to fill the house for every performance. The families and friends of the members of the company make up the core of our audience. Everyone involved with the production – cast members, parents, volunteers – reaches out to all of his or her social networks, spreading the word through email groups, facebook posts, and classic face-to-face conversations. Once people have seen one of our plays, they anticipate upcoming productions. Over the years, San Jose Youth Shakespeare has developed a substantial following.

hicklebees_publicity[1]To draw new audience members, we make use of online and print community event calendars, public service announcements on radio stations, and some more unusual venues, such as Gas Station TV – you might see an announcement of our play the next time you’re filling your tank. We also send press releases to the San Jose Mercury News and the local community newspapers, resulting in preview articles and coverage of special events such as Scott Handy’s visit in spring 2012. We post flyers at local coffee houses and other businesses, and we give preview performances at venues such as Hicklebee’s, San Jose Renaissance Faire, and Whole Foods Market.

Our plays provide an educational and cultural opportunity for the community. We give students who are studying Shakespeare’s plays a chance to see a low cost, high quality, live performance. In 2013, we began presentations for Camp Captivate. We notify librarians, middle and high school English and performing arts teachers, and other local performing arts groups of our upcoming plays, and we offer discounts to school groups.

Please contact us at if you:

  • Would like to be on our mailing list to get notified when ticket sales open for upcoming shows
  • Represent a local business and would like to host a preview performance
  • Are a local educator – we can arrange a discounted group rate or might have a sponsor interested in donating tickets for your students to see our next production