ARTIST PROFILE: Suzanne Sturn, Much Ado’s Antonia, Macbeth’s Witch and Doctor

Meet Suzanne Sturn Antonia and Verges in Much Ado About Nothing, and a Witch, the Doctor, a Lord, in Macbeth  the 2015 Santa Cruz Shakespeare Summer Festival.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare Suzanne Sturn

Where are you from originally? Where do you call home now?

I grew up in Neenah, WI and have lived and worked as an actor and theatre professor in many places, especially Minneapolis and western New York. Now, I live in Santa Cruz.

How did you come to be a part of Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2015 festival? Do you have a history with us, or is this your first time?

This is my first time working with the festival. I auditioned for Mike Ryan and am so pleased to be cast in somewhat non-traditional ways, playing several roles most often given to males.

What has your experience been like working with Santa Cruz Shakespeare this season?

It’s a delight always to be working on the plays of Shakespeare, so one feels that deeply in a season which is put so lovingly together. Of course the place of the glen in the redwoods has a special magic, with its natural beauty that the audience and the company both enjoy.

And this is a wonderful company of actors and staff who work marvelously together.

The intern company is a delight of dedicated young people, and when I see them I think — they are the future of the theatre, which is in good hands.

Suzanne (right) with Steve Pickering in Much Ado About Nothing, 2015. Photo by rr jones.

Suzanne (right) with Steve Pickering in Much Ado About Nothing, 2015. Photo by rr jones.

Tell us about the character(s) you’re playing. How did you approach the role(s)? Was there anything you discovered about your characters and/or the play during the rehearsals and performances? What was it like to work on multiple roles at once?

Antonia, usually “Antonio” is a small but potent role, on this occasion the uncle becomes a loving aunt, due to Mike Ryan’s work to include the feminine element more equitably in Shakespeare. In one small scene Antonia expresses all the outrage of a mother who comes to the defense of her daughter who has been betrayed by the values of the patriarchy. So there’s a lot to let loose in that short scene!

I enjoy the contrast with my other role, a ridiculous clown-like sidekick to the farcical and loving Dogberry.

What have been some of your favorite things to do in the Santa Cruz area when you weren’t rehearsing/working?

 Suzanne Sturn Santa Cruz Shakespeare Macbeth

The ‘Witches’ Patty Gallagher, Mary Cavett, and Suzanne Sturn with Steve Pickering (Macbeth) in Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Photo by rr jones.

I live in Santa Cruz, and always love to enjoy the natural beauty of the place, especially Nisene Marks Forest.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play? Why?

I have two favorites: King Lear, for the deep wisdom it has about aging and becoming a mature human being, and about the deepest possible spiritual questions of life — finding compassion and bringing that quality into these very lives we are living now.

Also, Winter’s Tale, because of its magic and romance, and the great women characters who support each other; and the husband and wife who come together finally after separation and travail. You have the feeling that they will now have a true marriage, which may not occur anywhere else in the plays.

Why should people come to see Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s plays this summer?

One should always see these plays, whenever possible. This company is Santa Cruz’s very own, and it is made up of an enormously spirited and professional group of players and artists–not to be missed!


Tickets on sale now for the 2015 season, which features three outdoor productions, starting with the wickedly romantic Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, opening July 3; followed by David Ives’s modern adaptation of the wickedly hilarious 17th century farce, The Liar, opening July 24; and Shakespeare’s wicked tragedy, Macbeth, opening August 7. Plus, SCS continues the tradition of its intern-showcasing Fringe production with four performances of the wickedly festive comedy The Rover, starting August 18.

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