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VIDEO: Santa Cruz Shakespeare Announces Postponement of 2020 Season

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VIDEO: Santa Cruz Shakespeare Announces Postponement of 2020 Season

Mike Ryan, Artistic Director of Santa Cruz Shakespeare has released the following message regarding the 2020 season:

The plays I selected for this summer all examine how we find our way past disaster - but never did I imagine the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic when I contemplated the nature of this adversity.

It is therefore with heavy heart that the Board of Directors and staff of Santa Cruz Shakespeare, in the interest of public health and the well-being of the Festival, have decided to postpone our 2020 summer season to 2021.

That is such difficult news to write. I know, too, that for many of you it will be difficult to read. The decision was not reached lightly; given our utmost concern for the health of our community and employees, the dubious viability of public gatherings this summer, and our need to act quickly to minimize financial damage to the company, however, we are certain it is the right one.

Though we are grieving this situation, we are also, like many of you, reaching for the opportunities afforded by it. As mighty as our small SCS staff is, we rarely have time with the demands of our summer season to look at new ways of creating, connecting, and caring for our community. So, we make you a pledge to do just that: we will be rolling out a series of Behind-the-Scenes video interviews with artists and artisans that explore what goes into creating a season at SCS; we will be organizing virtual community play readings; we will create and upload education materials and videos to assist with remote learning; and, we will explore new programming in the winter or spring.

In the absence of summer programming, we will need you, our community, to come together in other ways. Send us your ideas for making your festival the best it can be. If you have ideas about how SCS can build community remotely, let us know. If there is programming you'd like to see online, or beyond the summer, share your ideas with us. Last but not least, if you can GIVE to help mitigate the significant loss of ticket income, we'd sure be grateful. Let's make this extraordinary time count, so that when we can gather once more, we do it strengthened and impassioned by this experience we have all shared.

It occurred to me that in so many of Shakespeare's plays, his characters become isolated from society-at-large. Examples include the lovers and mechanicals lost in the wood of Athens in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the exiled Prospero on his island in The Tempest. Viola is separated from the world she knows when she is shipwrecked and disguises herself on the coast of Illyria in Twelfth Night. These moments of isolation lead to profound changes, however: a renewed sense of self, a regeneration of purpose, and a deeper understanding about why it is good to love one another. As the exiled Duke Senior says in As You Like It:

"And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

Shakespeare whispers in our ear that we will be better for this time of isolation, that there will come an end to exile, and that, in exchange for our losses, the world to which we return will be better than the one we left behind.

Until then, stay healthy, stay safe, stay involved. I can't wait to see you in the brave new world.

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