Historian Discusses Fate of Shakespeare Theatre
Listening to historian Wilson Faude discuss the auspicious opening and star-studded casts Stratford's former American Shakespeare Theatre boasted, one can almost hear the appreciative roar of local crowds on high-performance nights.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Patch.com.
#1 Jun 22, 2011
This guy CLEARLY should have checked with chrisfromstratford before commenting on anything about shakepeare !!!!!!!!
#2 Oct 16, 2013
When is the town going to reopen the Blockbuster Video on East Main St?
#3 Oct 27, 2013
Stamford Theatre Works Closes After Two Decades
By Adam Hetrick
27 Oct 2008
Stamford Theatre Works, the Connecticut-based, non-profit equity theatre company, has announced that it will shutter in the midst of its 21st season.
Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat, which ended its run Oct. 5, will have been the final production of the 20-year-old theatre company. John Cariani's comedy Almost Maine had been scheduled to begin performances Nov. 5.
STW founder and producing director Steve Karp said in a statement, "Over the last five years, our ability to raise money could not keep pace with our increasing operating expenses, and we found ourselves with an overwhelming accumulating deficit that has left us without sufficient resources to produce the currently scheduled production ofAlmost, Maine or a realistic projection of how we can produce the rest of the season."
The Stamford company points to severe reductions in corporate and private sponsorship as a major factor in the decision to dissolve the company.
While STW cites positive press and 1,300 annual subscribers (90 percent of whom renew annually), the company said that ticket sales account for only half of the Stamford Theatre Works' annual budget.
The 2008-2009 season at Stamford Theatre Works was to include John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, Tom Dudzick's comedy Greetings and Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite.
Stamford Theatre Works had also intended to present the 2008-2009 season at its new home, the Stamford Center for the Arts. However, the Stamford Center filed for bankruptcy in August, scuttling plans for the move and ultimately leaving the Stamford Center for the Arts, and the theatre designed specifically for Stamford Theatre Works, unfinished.
Founded in 1988 by Karp, Stamford Theatre Works offered nearly 100 professional productions during its two decades in operation. Stamford Theatre Works received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle for outstanding work, including "Outstanding Contribution to Connecticut Theatre" in 1997.
#4 Oct 27, 2013
NEW HAVEN -- Long Wharf Theatre has made a series of changes to cut $1 million from its operating budget, steps that include the layoff of four staff members, a restructuring of its staff and a hiring freeze.
Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein characterized the move as an effort to be "fiscally prudent" in anticipation of continued economic hard times, reducing the $6.2 operating budget without sacrificing the artistic integrity of the theater's programming for the 2009-2010 season.
"The audience will not see a change in either the quality or number of productions," Edelstein said of the forthcoming season.
Both he and Managing Director Ray Cullom, who just joined the theater senior management staff in mid-May, stressed that the budget tightening is a proactive decision.
"It means doing more with less," said Cullom, "that all the resources you have go toward what goes on the stage, which works very well with what this organization's priorities are at the moment."
Edelstein said despite "robust" ticket sales, "it has been increasingly obvious that in the climate that we're in ... our individual and corporation and foundational support has decreased significantly."
Without any foreseeable relief in the near future and the present state budget crisis, the board of trustees and senior management staff have been considering proposals over the past few months to, as Edelstein put it, "protect ourselves and the institution by acting responsibly in this challenging economic moment."
Cullom also emphasized that, "The organization isn't in trouble yet, but what we want to do is stay out of trouble, and there are a ton of theaters in a heap of trouble. We're doing what we can do to stay out of that, given the trends and what the economy is."
In addition to the layoffs, the contracts of five seasonal employees were not renewed, six staffers had the lengths of their contracts reduced from year-round to seasonal work, there have been tiered salary rollbacks and production costs have been cut.
The names of those affected were not released, but Cullom said they are mostly in production and administrative areas.
"These are not easy decisions, and we've turned them around over and over in our minds," said Cullom. "We think this will get us where we need to be at this time. The idea is that we'd jump ahead of the problem."
The theater has raised a nearly $6 million endowment fund and had planned to start its capital campaign in the fall to raise $30 million to match an expected state grant of $30 million to move the 40-year-old theater to a downtown location.
Edelstein said of that move, "As we remain hopeful that the state will make good on its promise of $30 million, at this moment, with the huge challenge facing the state, we don't foresee that money coming in the near future."
Cullom said the meetings will continue with the city and developers, and the capital campaign will continue as planned for the fall, "but I think everyone realizes the initial time frame isn't in force any more."
Edelstein and Cullom said changes reflect the current environment, and if and when that environment changes, they will consider expansion again. "We've done the right thing, the responsible thing, and I know we've done it as well as we know how," said Edelstein.
#5 Oct 28, 2013
In a few years there won't be anyone left around who remembers that this rotting fossil was ever an operating theatre. Move along, nothing to see here, it's an old building being torn down.
#6 Oct 28, 2013
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet the Barnum Duck Lanes would be staying open.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet Matt Catalano would support mayor Harkins.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet Sikorsky would not have layoffs.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet the town's attorneys would charge less.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet the Army Engine Plant would have re-opened.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet Amazon would have built a warehouse in town.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet my taxes would be lower.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet Cook's Pond would still hold water.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet Mobile Chemical would move back.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet the snow would not be so deep this winter.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open I bet gasoline would cost less.
If only the Shakespeare Theater was already open we would all be saved.
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