Seattle Shakespeare Company Programs
Seattle Shakespeare Company mounts a 4 play indoor season at Seattle Center’s Center House Theatre and Intiman 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
Each year the public enjoys Shakespeare at no cost through Wooden O performances in the parks. Two plays are offered throughout the Puget Sound region in professional performances presented in partnership with 10 local cities. Parks' shows meet a high level of artistic quality, garnering 15 Footlight Awards from The Seattle Times and Gregory Award-winning performances. Attendance has doubled since Wooden O’s 2008 merger with Seattle Shakespeare. This summer, Wooden O will celebrate its 20th Anniversary by presenting nearly 40 free performances of Henry V and The Tempest.
Touring Outreach and Education
We boost personal and academic achievement by unlocking the classics for students. Touring spans Washington State, bringing professional productions to communities that lack access to live theatre, last year reaching more than 13,400 students in 78 schools. Education reaches 150 schools annually, along with adults, through workshops, lectures, teacher professional development, student matinees, and camps.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
2012 was a year of transition for Seattle Shakespeare, representing George Mount’s first as Artistic Director, following long-time AD Stephanie Shine. As the founder of Wooden O Theatre, Mr. Mount has brought a wealth of experience, insight, and commitment to Shakespeare, the classics, and our community. In his first year, the results were one of the most acclaimed seasons in our history. Our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was voted “Best Play” by Teen Tix members (thousands of local teenagers ranging in age from 13-19). Our production of Shakespeare’s Roman political drama Coriolanus captured the energy of the Occupy movement, and Crosscut told readers they would feel “a lot more up to date on current politics than you will after weeks of trying to follow the 2012 primary debates.” The Seattle Weekly congratulated the show for its “rich thematic stew” and rated it as the “Best Theatre Production” of the year in their annual awards. The Seattle Times awarded Seattle Shakespeare with five Footlight Awards in 2012, including naming Pygmalion as one of the Top Play Productions.
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. We are in the second year of a three-year grant from The Washington Women’s Foundation to replicate this model across the state. We will need partners in building these community based coalitions.