Before Baker College laid claim to Shakespeare, Rice had been celebrating the Bard for quite a few years. In 1953, the Rice Players started what they called “Shakespeare as You’ll Like It.” Rather than doing a complete play, the Players instead presented scenes from two plays. In 1954, they selected scenes from Richard II and Twelfth Night.
While the Rice Players focused much of their attention on Shakespeare in the 1950s and early 1960s, by the late 1960s, the theater group began to branch out. In the spring of 1970, with the help of Baker College Master Charles W. Philpott, Charles Becker and Ed Dickinson began Baker College’s yearly tradition, Baker Shakespeare or BakerShake as its more affectionately known.