Digital News Report- Shakespeare Santa Cruz has been running plays on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus since 1981, but this year it was threatened with permanent cancellation due to budget constraints. Every summer they put on numerous plays by Shakespeare and other notable dramatists in an outdoor amphitheatre among the redwood trees six days a week. It draws talented artists and actors from across the country.
When faced with cancellation, the Santa Cruz community reacted swiftly utilizing both the internet and word of mouth to get the word out. In a little less than a week, they raised over $416,000 from over 2,000 donors in an effort to save it. Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, “the generous public support to save Shakespeare Santa Cruz has set a shining example for the American arts. This may be a local event, but it has national importance.”
SSC Artistic Director Marco Barricelli sees this extraordinary outpouring of support as a validation for the arts. “We have been sent a very clear message, and that message is: Theatre matters.”
The program had 10 days to raise over $300,000 and, having met that goal, has begun production on next summers’ program. The line up includes A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Julius Caesar, and Shiprecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont, by Pulitzer-orize winning winning playwright Donald Margulies.
Chancellor Blumenthal sent an email out to faculty, students, and staff saying, “I applaud the successful efforts of the many friends and supporters of Shakespeare Santa… This is an important first step in reversing the program’s significant operating deficits and helping it become truly self-sustaining.
He went on to say, “in a period of dwindling state support, we must focus limited resources on UCSC’s core mission: preparing students to be engaged citizens while seeking solutions to global challenges through cutting-edge research.”
California has been hit by the economic crisis and has expected to run out of money by February. Governor Schwarzenegger has set in motion dramatic actions to lay off many state employees and force many others to take two additional unpaid days off every month to cut down on cost. The University of California system has been affected along with the rest of the state.