Wrapping Up a Momentous Year

We’ve been taking time to reflect on the year gone by and to start setting our sights on the horizon. It’s been a busy and exciting time for the company, and we are enormously proud of the achievements of the past year. When we compared our personal lists of highlights, they differed slightly, so we decided to share them both with you.

George: Richard II was definitely a highlight. Rosa Joshi’s simple yet beguiling production really resonated with audiences. It was heartening to learn that our audience would respond to this challenging and infrequently produced work.

John: Our subscriptions have grown for the 8th year in a row, reaching another all-time high. A 75% increase in season ticket purchases over the past 10 years is something to celebrate.

George: Victor Pappas crafted a sparkling, side-splittingly funny The Importance of Being Earnest that once again showed Oscar Wilde as one of the wittiest writers in the English language. It was great to see houses packed night after night.

John: Every year it just gets better and better. Our Bill’s Bash auction is surely the most fun that anyone will have at a fundraiser, and last spring it hit a high mark. Big thanks to everyone who rolls up their sleeves to make it happen.

George: From March through May a 6-actor troupe serve as our ambassadors across the state. Last spring’s touring productions of Romeo and Juliet and Othello played to more than 15,000 people from Spokane to Orcas Island. They really are our unsung heroes doing the work of inspiring a new generation of Shakespeare lovers.

George: Having director Shelia Daniels back is always a high point. Her King Learwas achingly sad with Dan Kremer’s Lear and Michael Winter’s Gloucester together for a devastating and pitiful Act IV encounter. I was moved every time I saw it.

John: How could anyone not enjoy our rollicking and rocking Wooden O production ofThe Two Gentlemen of Verona? It was also thrilling to see so many powerful and accomplished actresses bring an all-female Julius Caesar to life in the parks. Wooden O is truly my greatest summer treat, and it’s wonderful to know that nearly 10,000 people in 11 different cities also enjoyed free Shakespeare.  And, we returned to Walla Walla after a two year absence to perform Julius Caesar at the Gesa Powerhouse Theatre. A great cap to the summer.

John: I was tremendously proud of George’s staging of Waiting for Godot at ACT Theatre. He captured both the dark tones and the extraordinary humor of the play. George was also the driver behind the Seattle Beckett Festival, a unique, city-wide celebration of Samuel Beckett, with 20 different organizations involved. A wonderful and wide-ranging representation of this great artist’s work.

George: Bringing director Jon Kretzu back for Twelfth Night was a delight. His moody yet merry production surpassed sales expectations and had several folks returning to see it more than once.

John: Our Education Luncheon this fall, chaired by Laurie Stusser-McNeil, drew a full-house of supporters to help fund our state-wide education efforts. And our Power2Give campaign to help underwrite free Shakespeare workshops in schools hit its goal.

John: It was an honor to be invited to participate in ArtsFest with the Spokane Public Schools for the first time this past November. Our education staff provided the theatre component and taught acting skills, stage combat, Elizabethan dance, and scenes from Romeo and Juliet to 10 students from each of the five high schools that participated.

Clearly we (and that means you, too) have a lot to celebrate in these accomplishments. So what’s ahead? Well, for now it’s Measure for Measure with award-winning director Desdemona Chiang at the helm. Then it’s a very full spring filled with Tartuffe andOthello, a tour that already has 60 different schools set in its schedule, a full slate of school residencies, our blow-out auction Bill’s Bash, and much more.

Thank you for being a part of our community and our success.

Have a Happy New Year Year!

Best regards,


George Mount
Artistic Director


John Bradshaw
Managing Director

 

2013-2014: An Outstanding Season

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The cast of “Much Ado About Nothing” (2013)

After closing out the financial records for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2013-2014 season, Managing Director John Bradshaw announced that the company ended the year in the black with revenues of $1.6 million, a record high for the company.  This is the 13th straight year that the company has ended the year with a positive fund balance.

“In a year when we thought we would be pulling back due to a loss of one production at the Cornish Playhouse, it actually turned into a banner year,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw.

Performances of its indoor productions – Much Ado About Nothing, Richard II, The Importance of Being Earnest, and King Lear – at two different venues – played to 76% of capacity, a 5% increase in attendance from the previous season which also had a larger capacity. The Importance of Being Earnest played to 99% of capacity and was sold-out for the majority of the run.

Seattle Shakespeare Company renewed its partnership with Shakespeare Walla Walla and transferred its productions of Richard II and The Importance of Being Earnest to the Gesa Powerhouse Theatre in Walla Walla for eight performances. The company also partnered with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for a presentation of Duke Ellington’s Shakespeare-inspired Such Sweet Thunder Suite in February.

The theatre’s state-wide touring productions of Romeo and Juliet and Othello had 60 performances and played to more than 15,000 people across Washington State, from Spokane to Orcas Island, during its three month tour from March through May.

Attendance at its free Wooden O summer productions of The Tempest and Henry V increased by 14% from the year prior, playing to nearly 12,000 people in park venues as far north as Lynnwood, as far south as Des Moines, and as far east as Sammamish. Roughly half of the total attendance was at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island.

Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Education programs reached more than 2800 students in their classrooms with more than two-thirds of those students experiencing multi-day residencies. The company’s student matinee performances served 3,350 students from than 94 different schools and homeschools throughout the region.

At Bill’s Bash, Seattle Shakespeare Company’s annual gala, funds totaling $220K were raised to support the organization’s programs, a record for the event.

Seattle Shakespeare Company employed 95 actors (28% AEA, 100% local) and 111 directors, designers, stage managers, artisans and technicians for its productions during the season.

“What all this says to me is that classical theatre is an important part of contemporary theatre,” said Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director George Mount. “There is not only a need, but a hunger for the great stories of the past in today’s world. We’re so pleased to be fulfilling that need for people throughout the Seattle area and across the state.”

Sheila Daniels on “King Lear” on KING FM

Marta Zekan from KING FM’s Arts Channel spoke with director Sheila Daniels about her experience bringing our production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” to the stage. What is it about this particular play that hits us on such a personal level? Why do we never tire of analyzing and dissecting it? Sheila shares her thoughts and her process in the conversation.

Flash Sale – Mother’s Day Weekend

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Buy One, Get One Free Ticket Sale to “King Lear”

Could things have turned out different for the Lear family if Mom had been around to keep Dad and the girls in line? We’ll never know, but you can thank your Mom for raising you right (and not teaching you how to gouge out a person’s eyes) by treating her to our production of “King Lear”

Buy one adult ticket and get the second ticket for free to performances of “King Lear” when you use the code MOM2014 when ordering tickets. Offer ends at midnight May 4.

Available for the following performances:
Friday, May 9 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 10 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, May 10 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 11 at 2:00 PM
Sunday, May 11 at 7:30 PM

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“King Lear” Now Extended Through May 17

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Following a sold-out run of The Importance of Being Earnest, Seattle Shakespeare Company announced today that it will extend its production of King Lear through May 17 with four additional performances at the Cornish Playhouse.

King Lear directed by Sheila Daniels opens on Friday, April 25. The production will have a total of 20 performances through Saturday, May 17. King Lear features a 16 member cast led by Dan Kremer in the title role.

“So many of our shows this season have been bursting at the seams,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw. “Both Much Ado About Nothing and Richard II far exceeded our expectations, and we had a wait list for every performance of our sold-out run of The Importance of Being Earnest. We are happy to add performances to King Lear to accommodate the demand and allow more people to see the fine work of Sheila and her cast.” This is the second time Seattle Shakespeare Company has produced King Lear in its 23 year history. The previous production was in 2004.

“We’ve been stretching ourselves in several ways this season,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “A co-production with Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, two run-outs of our shows for a week each of performances in Walla Walla, and now this extension of King Lear.  The enthusiasm and demand for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s work just seems to be growing each year.” Next season, Seattle Shakespeare Company expands to a five-play indoor season, in addition to its free summer Wooden O performances and two state-wide touring productions.

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