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 2013, this program reached more than 11,700 audience members through 38 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 14,000 students.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Seattle Shakespeare Company continued to enjoy great success over the past year, both artistically and operationally. We celebrated the 20th anniversary season of Wooden O in 2013, marking two decades of bringing free Shakespeare to communities across the Puget Sound. Another major artistic achievement of the past year was our production of Henrik Ibsen’s "A Doll’s House". We commissioned an original translation by Scandinavian scholar Sean Patrick Taylor, who worked to translate Ibsen’s dialect of Dano-Norwegian in a manner that would honor the text and resonate with audiences today. For the sixth year in a row, we saw an increase in subscriptions, bucking both national and local trends, and for the 12th 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. We are in the final year of a three-year grant from The Washington Women’s Foundation to replicate this model across the state. We will need community partners and support from individuals in building these coalitions.