Will the 2020 SCS Season Go On?

“Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that

and manage it against despairing thoughts.”

– William Shakespeare, 

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Dear SCS Family,

What an extraordinary time. Like most of you, SCS’s employees are currently Sheltering In Place, and while this state of affairs makes our work more difficult, we are grateful for the steps taken to ensure that our community’s most vulnerable remain healthy or retain access to a healthcare system that has the capacity to help them. It has been heart-wrenching to watch performances close across the country and to see artists and artisans (among many other service workers) lose their livelihoods, but all of us in the theatre community recognize how important these proactive measures are. We are, after all, nothing without our communities, and your wellness is not only our priority, it is the very purpose of theatre.

We realize that many of you have questions about whether or not the Festival will be producing this summer. The answer to that question is: right now, yes. Our hope is that by July, and with the onset of summer weather, it will be safe for communities to gather once more outdoors, and that Santa Cruz will enjoy its 39th consecutive year of unparalleled professional repertory Shakespeare. That said, no one can predict the future, and our staff is working actively with the Board of Directors to model different scenarios. Over the course of the next two weeks, we expect to determine a deadline for postponement or cancellation that will allow SCS to conserve enough resources to plan for 2021 without a full season of ticket sales.

Given the state of the stock market, we understand that support is very difficult, but it is also critical for arts non-profits. I hope you will proceed with any giving planned for SCS in 2020, and, if you are fortunate enough to be considering how best to support others in need, I hope you will think about donating to Bay Area arts and cultural organizations that have already had to cancel productions: Jewel Theatre Company, Actors’ Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, TheatreWorks, and City Lights, among others. If you are a ticket holder at these theatres, please consider donating tickets back rather than requesting a refund for cancelled shows. Or, if you are looking to help individual artists who have unexpectedly lost work, please consider the Actor’s Fund or, more locally, Arts Council SC County has provided resource links on their website at artscouncilsc.org/covid-19-the-arts.

On behalf of all of us at SCS, thank you for supporting the arts, artists, and community. Please stay safe and healthy, and if you have any ideas about how SCS can help us all remain connected during these days of physical isolation, please send those ideas my way. I’d love to read them. Shakespeare has seen the world through many calamities since the 16th century by uniting communities and sustaining them, and we know he can do it again.

With gratitude,

Mike Ryan, Artistic Director