In a previous blog post, I mourned the end of Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 32-year run. At the beginning of this month, I heard rumors that a new organization, not affiliated with UCSC, was going to try to revive Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and that they were in negotiations with UCSC to rent the Festival Glen, and even to use the Shakespeare Santa Cruz name.
It seems that they have gone public with the request—the best article I’ve found has been the Examiner article from Dec 13 ‘Shakespeare Play On’ Board of Directors makes plea to community for funding – National Charity & Volunteerism | Examiner.com:
In a Dec. 11, 2013 message to countless supporters devastated by an abrupt termination of the Shakespeare Santa Cruz summer Festival by UCSC, the Board said, “It is time for the community to take ownership of this Festival. We have not come through crises, victories, tears and joy to let it evaporate due to inaction. We now collectively have the opportunity to create a resilient, robust, self-governing organization.”
There was an earlier article in Broadway World (Dec 9) and a short one in the SF Chronicle. There is one in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, but they didn’t get around to it until 2103 Dec 21, 10–12 days after the San Francisco papers. I’m a little surprised that we didn’t get one of the “messages to countless supporters” as we gave in the last desperate push in 2008.
According to the Sentinel article, the new organization, called Shakespeare Play On, needs “to raise $885,000 from donors before a self-imposed deadline of Jan. 15.” They are planning to have better fiscal discipline than the old Shakespeare Santa Cruz model, which borrowed money from the university in order to put on the productions, and never quite made enough from donors to pay it all back. The fund-raising goal they’ve set for themselves is quite ambitious—Shakespeare Santa Cruz generally only got about $400k a year from donors, probably because many donors assumed (correctly) that UCSC would cover the slack. UCSC has made it very, very clear that they’re not going to do that any more, and Shakespeare Play On is a completely independent company, which may rent facilities from UCSC, but will not be financially backed by UCSC. My understanding is that Shakespeare Play On had gotten pledges for about ¼ of what they needed before going public.
To save time, Shakespeare Play On is currently being sponsored by the Santa Cruz Arts Council (which means that donations go through them to get tax-exempt status), though I assume that the organization will incorporate on its own in the next year. To donate, you can either use the on-line form through networkforgood.com, which has a 3% service fee for credit cards, or send a check to the Santa Cruz Arts Council, designating the donation for Shakespeare Play On. They are promising that if the goal is not met, donations will be returned (aside from the service fee for networkforgood).
I’ve donated a token amount: $100. Can you donate something also to keep alive an important cultural resource for Santa Cruz?