Seattle Shakespeare Company Programs
Seattle Shakespeare Company mounts a full indoor season of productions in Seattle (often staged at the Center Theater and the Cornish Playhouse), bringing the region award-winning productions of classics that speak to contemporary audiences. Accessibility programs such as the “Groundlings”, a year-long membership that provides $10 rush tickets, make the indoor season available to most audiences.
Wooden O Outdoor Season
For more than 20 years, the Wooden O free Shakespeare in the parks program has been bringing professional plays directly to community members in partnership with local cities across the Puget Sound. In 2014, this program reached more than 9,300 audience members through 35 performances in 12 parks. In addition to increasing accessibility, the park performances often serve as an entry point, providing audiences with their first experience of Shakespeare's works. Each summer, two high-caliber, professional productions are offered, which have garnered 15 Footlight Awards from The Seattle Times and Gregory Award-winning performances.
Touring Outreach and Education
With Shakespeare’s works included in school curricula across the state, our goal is to bring classic plays to life for students through professional productions, active learning experiences, and immersion in the world of the plays. Touring outreach productions span Washington State, bringing professional productions to communities that lack access to live theatre, last year reaching more than 14,500 students.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Seattle Shakespeare Company continued to enjoy great success over the past year, both artistically and operationally. We expanded our 2014-15 season to include a fifth indoor production, increasing our total season capacity by 24%. SSC served as the organizing partner for a city-wide Beckett Festival from August-November 2014, bringing together 19 arts organizations. Our production of “Waiting for Godot” was the cornerstone of the festival, and it was a huge success, exceeding ticket goals and garnering acclaim from critics and audiences. Moreover, the Festival was a shining example of collaboration in our arts community, boosting the visibility and increasing attendance for all of the partner organizations. For the seventh year in a row, we saw an increase in subscriptions, bucking both national and local trends, and for the 13th straight year, Seattle Shakespeare Company finished the fiscal year in the black.
Our education programs, touring outreach performances, and Wooden O productions all point to our competitive advantage in providing arts that are academically required and culturally valued. Yet they rely on school and municipal budgets that are challenged. We are addressing this, in part, through Regional Shakespeare Alliances: geographically-based coalitions of schools, businesses, and philanthropists who plan together to sustain Shakespeare programs in their area. Support from individuals is critical to underwriting these outreach programs.