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Seattle Shakespeare Company 

Description

Seattle Shakespeare Company is Washington State’s only year-round, professional theatre company dedicated to producing the classics. Now in its 23rd season, Seattle Shakespeare operates with a budget of $1.4 million, a board of 24 trustees, a corps of 200 volunteers, a staff of 17, a pool of more than 200 artists, and audiences that span the state. We operate with fiscal responsibility, exquisite artistic quality and broad outreach, bringing classical theatre to people of every age and economic level.

Mission Statement
With the plays of William Shakespeare at our core, Seattle Shakespeare Company engages our audiences, our artists and our community in the universal human experience inherent in classic drama through the vitality, immediacy and intimacy of live performance and dynamic outreach programs.
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Seattle Shakespeare Company
PO Box 19595 
Seattle 
WA
98109 
(206) 733-8228 

John Bradshaw 
Managing Director 

Programs

Seattle Shakespeare Company Programs

Indoor Season  
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.

Evaluation


Seattle Shakespeare Company (SSC) is the standard bearer for the works of William Shakespeare in Washington State. Each year the company offers 245 stage performances and 126 educational programs that increase access to classical theater to diverse audiences across King County and statewide.

Proven Success
At a time when many local and national theatre organizations are experiencing declining subscription sales, SSC is seeing subscriptions at an all-time high and continuing to trend upward. Single ticket sales for the 2010-2011 season increased 94% from last season and 129% from two years ago.

Collaboration
In 2008, SSC merged with Wooden O Theatre—the region’s largest Shakespeare-in-the-park organization. The merger has resulted in increased attendance for both the indoor and outdoor performances while leveraging Wooden O’s years of outreach to underserved cities and schools. Additionally, they share space and the Center House Theatre with Book-It Repertory Theatre, leveraging cost savings through shared back office materials and staff.

Sustainability
SSC is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. The theatre has experimented successfully with social networking technology and low-cost ticket subscription packages. These innovations, combined with strategic budget cuts and an expanded board focused on attracting multi-year commitments from donors, have helped to solidify Seattle Shakespeare’s reputation as a resilient, well-managed mid-sized theater company in the region.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
9/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/10/2009 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/10/2007 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.

Financials

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