Donor Spotlight 2015: Karen and Robert Sinsheimer

The donor spotlight on Karen and Robert Sinsheimer was taken from our 2015 playbill.

Karen and Robert Sinsheimer

When Karen Sinsheimer came to Santa Cruz with her husband in 1981, she could not have known how much she would come to love Shakespeare in Santa Cruz. When she arrived, a Shakespearean theater in the outdoors was an ambitious idea that needed the right people with a shared vision to make it a reality. “People, families, and the community gathered together in support of creating a major festival, and with a little money, the idea of creating a first rate production came to fruition,” said Karen. “People sat up and took notice,” she recalled about the first summer in the Glen. Years later, that very setting bears her name along with that of her tireless counterpart, Audrey Stanley, the first Artistic Director of the summer festival.

Karen Sinsheimer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 1983. Photo by Don Fukuda

Karen Sinsheimer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 1983. Photo by Don Fukuda

Thirty-four years later Karen and her husband Robert Sinsheimer remain committed to supporting the organization. “Santa Cruz Shakespeare remains true to the original mission which was to produce Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played,” says Karen. “Everyone loves the idea of seeing Shakespeare outdoors, bringing a picnic, having a glass of wine, and even if you have to bundle up at night, it still is this magical experience that you almost get nowhere else,” she added. “There’s a special quality to the outdoor theater experience where the audience can participate in Santa Cruz that you simply can’t find at other outdoor theaters.”

Beyond the magic of the outdoors, the company also remains committed to bringing generations together. “If we don’t introduce children to theater when they are really young, we’ve lost them. Unlike other theaters, it’s not just an older generation in the audience, but you see children, students, interns, young actors, families, and couples celebrating the plays together,” she noted.

From that first year of planning and serving on the board, to raising the necessary funds to establish the foundation that is Shakespeare in Santa Cruz today, Karen and Robert Sinsheimer have never stopped giving. Although the couple now lives in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Shakespeare remains in their hearts, and they believe they have a responsibility to contribute to its continued growth. “You have to look after the things you care about,” Karen said fondly.

Karen and Robert’s early vision for the community to gather outdoors to celebrate and share Shakespeare’s incredible stories continues to be a driving motivation for Santa Cruz Shakespeare in 2015. When I think about their legacy, I am drawn to the profound sense of community that they wanted to engender through Shakespeare in Santa Cruz. It seems particularly important to me that we honor them and their respect for community as we move more fully into the arms of the City of Santa Cruz. ” – Mike Ryan, Artistic Director