Butterfield 8 brightens up October with the opening of "She Stoops to Conquer."

Running Oct. 11-Nov. 4, Oliver Goldsmith's Restoration comedy has delighted audiences since it first appeared in the 18th century with its tale of a wealthy Londoner who prefers lower-class women rather than women from his own class, much to the chagrin of family and friends.

A crazy cast of characters, lots of miscommunication and mistaken identities ensues as his friends attempt to wed him to a highborn lady.

"It's escapist entertainment at its best -- just in time for election season," says director John Butterfield. "The play is laugh-out-loud funny, a little bit bawdy and a little bit romantic."

For tickets to "She Stoops to Conquer," which features Alan Cameron, Beth Chastain, Kerry Gudjohnsen, Rhianna Taylor and JanLee Marshall among others, call 800-838-3006 or go to www.b8company.com.

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    Young theatergoers and their families won't want to miss Fantasy Forum's production of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

    In this retelling of the timeless tale, a loving king decrees that he will give his daughter in marriage to the suitor who provides him with the most beautiful new wardrobe. The unusual results will amuse audiences of all ages.

    Directed by Scott Denison, the show features original music by Florence Denison and performances by Kerri Shawn, Scott Strain and Derek Travis Collard.

    "The Emperor's New Clothes" performances are at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Oct. 11, 12; at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Oct. 13; and at 7 p.m. Oct. 12, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, where young audience members can even sit on the stage.

    Call 925-943-SHOW (925-943-7469) or go to www.lesherartscenter.org for tickets.

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    With so many theaters struggling to keep open and stalwarts like The Willows filing for bankruptcy, it's nice to hear when a theater actually expands its operations. Such is the case for Berkeley Repertory.

    I still remember auditioning for Berkeley Rep in the mid-1970s when the 155-seat theater was little more than a storefront on College Avenue. Now, it is the anchor of Berkeley's Arts District on Addison Street with two beautiful theaters -- The Roda and Thrust Stage -- and a new production facility on Harrison Street in West Berkeley.

    Last week, PR director Terrence Keane proudly led a tour of the new facility. Sure to be the envy of theater companies everywhere, the 62,000 square-foot building allows the costume shop, prop shop, scene shop, storage and administrative offices to be housed under one roof. Previously, the company had rented space in five different locations in two cities.

    The new production space will also be home to The Ground Floor, a summer laboratory for prominent and promising writers, directors and composers to collaborate on new works.

    Thanks to a $1 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation and a $750,000 grant from ArtPlace, residencies, ranging from four days to three weeks, have been awarded to local, national and international artists. The residencies begin in July 2013.

    For more information on each project and for future announcements of opportunities to interact, watch the website at berkeleyrep.org/groundfloor.

    Contact Sally Hogarty at sallyhogarty@gmail.com.