Seattle Shakespeare Company announced plans to return to indoor performance with a series of productions. Shakespeare: Drum and Colours, an ambitious, alternating repertory of two Shakespeare classics pared to their essence and featuring an all-POC company, will perform in late winter 2022. Spring 2022 sees the rescheduling of a previously COVID-cancelled production of Much Ado About Nothing.
“We’re deeply aching to be back on stage again and are doing everything we can to make that happen,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “This past summer’s outdoor Wooden O show told us just how much our audiences want to see live theatre again. Nearly every park we performed at had more than double the number of patrons that we typically see during the summer. We can’t wait to welcome our audiences back to theatre.”
Outdoor performances when COVID cases were waning is one thing, but to gather large groups of people together indoors for a performance takes a whole different set of precautions and protocols. “We’ve been evaluating HVAC systems, lobby traffic patterns, and safety procedures to make sure that patrons will both feel safe and be safe while attending our shows at The Center Theatre,” said Managing Director John Bradshaw. Seattle Shakespeare Company has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees, volunteers, patrons, and visitors to the Center Theatre as well as mask requirements while in the building. “Our performance space at The Center Theatre is very intimate. We need to take the utmost precautions to ensure the safety of our artists and our audiences.”
For the 2022 indoor season Seattle Shakespeare Company will not be offering season ticket packages for sale and all shows will only be available for single ticket purchase. “Looming uncertainty and variants of the virus have us very cautious,” said Bradshaw. “We felt it best to take our return on a show-by-show basis rather than have to refund subscription tickets should there be a turn of events that cause a cancellation. We will be taking care of our loyal subscription audiences with discounts on single tickets and early access to seating before sales open up to the public.”
Last year would have been Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 30th Anniversary season. “We’re looking ahead and allowing all of the discussions, challenges, changes, and learnings from the past year and a half to inform our way forward,” said Mount. “Plays that resonated before, don’t have the same allure. New voices giving life to the classics….and redefining the scope of the term ‘classics’ is how we’re charting our new course.”
The new season starts in February 2022. For the past two years, Seattle Shakespeare has supported POC artists in exploring their personal connections to the classics through the Shakespeare Equity Engagement program and the Holding Space project. “Both of these programs were really the brainchild of Lamar Legend, our Diversity Programming Coordinator,” said Mount. “When he approached me with the idea of a rotating repertory of two plays with an all-POC company, my heart took a leap.” Shakespeare: Drum and Colours is an adaptation of two of Shakespeare’s plays (Hamlet and As You Like It) that will alternate performances. The production features an all-POC Shakespeare repertory company that includes nine actors, two directors, and an all-POC design team. Shakespeare: Drum and Colours will run in repertory February 15 – March 13, 2022.
A postponed production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will conclude the season, directed by Allison Narver, who staged the company’s 2017 production of The Government Inspector.
“I don’t let the other plays know this, but Much Ado About Nothing is hands-down my favorite Shakespeare play,” confessed Mount. “I always have a good time watching these characters tie themselves up in knots over their feelings. And we could all really use a good laugh nowadays. I’m truly glad we were able to reschedule this production that I know so many were looking forward to seeing.” Much Ado About Nothing will perform April 26-May 22, 2022.
“Gathering to tell the great stories anew is at the heart of what we do at Seattle Shakespeare Company,” said Mount. “The gatherings can be not only a place of connection, but also where assumptions can be undone, griefs can be recognized, joy shared, and new views take root. We’re striving to be better at serving our community through the stories we tell in all their different forms. We so look forward to seeing our audience again in that liminal gathering place.”
Tickets for Shakespeare: Drum and Colours will go on sale to the public January 4. To minimize contact, Seattle Shakespeare encourages online sales. Phone sales are also available by calling the ticket office.