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.”

Short Shakes “Earnest” – Youth Performances

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This spring nine young actors flex their comedy muscles in our Short Shakes Youth Performances of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  Jack loves Gwendolen. His best friend Algernon loves Cecily, but both ladies are in love with a man named Ernest. Find out how they untangle this comic knot. Short Shakes is more than just putting on a play, it is an experience that fosters compassion, creates better listeners, promotes critical thinking, and develops courage.

Join us for their showcase performances
Saturday, April 5 at 11:00am
Monday, April 7 at 7:00pm
Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00pm

All performances are at the Center Theatre and are free to attend (with donations accepted at the door). Please arrive ten minutes early so we can begin the show on time.

A First Peek at “The Importance of Being Earnest”

Take a peek into rehearsals for “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Charting ‘Earnest’

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Click to enlarge

When a director sets out to stage a play, it’s a journey of discovery, and at times you really wish you had a road map to help get you to where you want to be.  We stumbled upon this fun info graphic created to map out Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” It brings up some silly quirks about the play (did you know that the word muffin is used 12 times within three pages of the script?) and charts the stage time for each character.

And, for those folks who like flowcharts, we found a couple that diagram the relationships between the characters in the play.  It’s highly recommended reading if you need a primer of who’s who before seeing the show.

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Source: The Missing Graph, Cliff Notes, and Prezi