SCC Board of Directors Reacts to University of California's Decision to Eliminate Program

By: Sep. 08, 2013
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"The Board of Directors of Shakespeare Santa Cruz was deeply saddened by the decision of the University of California, Santa Cruz to terminate SSC. We are incredibly grateful to UCSC for 32 years of partnership. We know the University is as proud of that relationship and our mutual achievements and contributions as we are, despite the fact that the goals, methods, accounting systems, needs and priorities of a professional producing theater and a public university often differ. The fact that we could complement each other's missions and aspirations for as long as we have, through good times and bad, is really the story that needs to be told.

However, as a result of the University's decision, we now have a sudden challenge, which is another way of saying we have an unexpected opportunity. The Arts, and SSC in particular, are nothing if not resilient. If anyone can lead us through change, it is artists, such as those we have been blessed to call colleagues, including our Artistic Director, Marco Barricelli. His imagination, discipline, resourcefulness, passion and strength serve as models for us all. Collectively, we learned in 2008 that "Where there's a Will, there a Way." Five years later, we channel Ophelia, in Hamlet, when she says, "We know what we are, but not what we may be." We, as your community representatives, have decided now is the time to answer this question, and to that end, we have established an exploratory committee to investigate the creation of an independent, non-profit organization that would continue the artistic mission of Shakespeare Santa Cruz as a professional theater.

"We appreciate all that UCSC has done to birth and nurture Shakespeare Santa Cruz over the past 32 years," said Jean Shimoguchi, President of the Board of Directors. "The outpouring of support following the announcement to terminate SSC has been tremendous. We believe there's a viable opportunity for SSC to rise like a phoenix and continue to present the high-quality, creative, professional theater that our audiences expect."

The exploratory committee will be led by members of the SSC Board of Directors, and will likely include contributions from nationally-recognized leaders in independent theater, artists and artisans, scientists, university professors and secondary-school educators, as well as prominent community leaders, major donors, philanthropists, representatives of foundations, local government and global financial institutions. Most importantly, we will want our work to be informed by you, our loyal patrons, your families and students.

When UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal was informed of our efforts, he said, "I welcome this exploration and believe SSC has been a vital and invaluable part of our community and University. If the committee can find an independent way to run SSC, we would welcome it, and we are glad to participate."

This committee will investigate:
- The creation of an independent, non-profit entity, with a fully-empowered Board of Directors;

- The financial framework needed to ensure our theater's fiscal sustainability;

- How best to invite, welcome, create and fund, a new, mutually beneficial partnership with

- UCSC, including ways to produce in the Festival Glen and offer students and faculty the

- continued ability to participate in professional Theater Productions;

- How best to coordinate with and showcase the tourism, wine and food industries, and fellow arts and performance organizations in order to promote economic vitality for the Central Coast, and make Santa Cruz a "must visit" cultural destination.

"This season was extraordinary, rivaling what you'd see in New York or London. These actors treading on the boards of the new stage, these directors, artisans, dramaturgs, scenic, costume, sound, lighting and set designers, choreographers, fight directors, composers, crews and interns - our consummate Associate Artists - they are forever 'ours' and they've given us a season to cherish as we explore 'what we may be,'" says Bill Richter, Immediate Past President, Shakespeare Santa Cruz Board of Directors.

"I am excited about the possibilities of continuing the dream that was created 32 years ago," said Audrey Stanley, Founding Artistic Director, Shakespeare Santa Cruz. "'The play's the thing.' It must go on and it will. Long live Shakespeare Santa Cruz!" "


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