Shakespeare Santa Cruz has been one of the elite art organizations in this community for more than 25 years, and now it’s facing extinction. That’s the facts, folks. Even the staff and volunteers at SSC are feeling the cold wind.
SSC begins its new summer season next week, and ticket sales are down, understandable, perhaps, in a tough economy. But never has the company faced the prospect that it simply won’t be around next summer until now. According to artistic director Marco Barricelli, if ticket sales don’t meet the company’s budget, the university can pull support and that’s all folks. No more theater in the Glen among the redwoods.
I’ve talked to several people at SSC: staff, board members, artists, audience supporters. And no one is claiming that SSC deserves to exist. They know theater companies aren’t a given in any community. But they’re hoping that those who’ve enjoyed, or been moved by past productions will make the effort this year to get up to campus to see their plays. They say that the anxiety of the past several months has made them focus into producing the best theater they know how to do.
We’ll see. Somewhere around the first or second week of August, they’ll have a pretty good idea if they’ve attracted big enough crowds to continue. The players have done what they can do; the final act of this drama is our hands.