Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big changes at Seattle Shakes

Seattle Shakespeare Company has just taken a hell of a one-two punch. A week ago the company sent out word that John Bradshaw, its managing director since 2004, was stepping down to raise funds for a favorite nonprofit. Today comes news that Stephanie Shine, who has been the company's artistic director for 13 years, will be leaving at the end of June. They're going to have to completely re-work their masthead!

Stephanie Shine, artistic director at
Seattle Shakespeare Company for the
past 13 years, announced her departure
just a week after word came out that
managing director John Bradshaw also
was leaving.
When the top leadership depart in quick succession the knee-jerk reaction is to think "sinking ship." But its nearly impossible to believe that this is the case at Seattle Shakes. The word on the street, and on the Facebooks, is that the company is well into the black, having just concluded a most successful run of The Threepenny Opera, directed by Shine. My Sweetie, the official scorer, and I weren't exactly wild about the show, but we went, and so did a lot of other folks. And we have absolutely loved a number of their productions in recent years, including Hamlet and Wittenberg earlier this season, the fantastic Electra in 2009-10, and superb stagings of The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and The Servant of Two Masters in 2008-09. Balagan and Seattle Shakespeare Company are the two theatre groups in town to which we hold season subscriptions.

Phil Miller, the chair of the board of directors for Seattle Shakes, wrote about the future in a letter sent today to the company's supporters:
Seattle Shakespeare Company's Board of Directors is re-evaluating the Company's leadership and internal organizational structure. We plan to move forward towards a permanent plan that will be in place by the start of the Company's new fiscal year on July 1, 2011. We have a number of exciting options on the table and are thrilled by the possibilities. It is too soon to name names, but you can expect to hear details that will inspire your interest in our theatre and confirm your confidence in the financial stability and management of Seattle Shakespeare Company.
Miller added that he expects Shine to continue to be involved with Seattle Shakes as an actor and director.

Interesting times. We hope they get someone strong to steer their ship through this tempest. They have four big shoes to fill.

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