The Shakespeare Company Theatre in the Round Guild
Our Story Why We Exist
On a cold afternoon in October, Glenn Davis, the lead actor in The Shakespeare Company's smash hit Othello was heading out of the theatre after a vibrant student matinee. Having recently performed on Broadway with none other than the late Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Glenn's resume is long and accomplished. As he walked towards the entrance of the theatre he was stopped by a young student who watched his performance in Othello.
"Hey, are you the guy that was in that show?" asked the student.
"Yeah that was me." replied Glenn.
"Before I came to this show I hated Shakespeare, it made no sense." said the student. "I didn't even want to come. But you know what?"
"What?" Asked Glenn
"I understood everything!" said the student. "Shakespeare is AWESOME!"
We at the Shakespeare Company couldn't agree more, Shakespeare IS Awesome! For too long it’s been perceived as being complicated, long, and hard to understand.
We make Shakespeare accessible, relevant and exciting, just as it was originally meant to be. We are committed to making great theatre for all to enjoy through innovative performances and inspired directing.
William Shakespeare is the greatest story teller of all time! We believe that theatre has the power to change us, to make us better, to help us understand, and to feel empathy. The Shakespeare Company exists so that those who come to witness our shows can be enlivened, enriched and inspired.
"I appreciate the productions of Shakespeare company very much. They hold my interest, they are presented powerfully and I like the intimate theatre. I get a sense of why they stood the test of time as our human condition has not changed all that much. As a student in school I hated studying Shakespeare, it was boring and I didn’t understand it. The Shakespeare Company has brought the plays alive for me and I realize had I had this opportunity then I would have been more engaged in English."
- Brenda Sine, TSC Patron and Donor
"You are fabulous. The kids still talk about Twelfth Night and Othello. Because of these productions, they love Shakespeare. King Lear was offered as a literature option this spring, with the other choice being a work of speculative fiction (Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood) and most chose to study Lear. How many teenagers do you know who would choose King Lear over a modern novel? "
"Your company has an amazing energy about it, which is difficult to quantify, but quite easy to be swept up in."
- Megan, Teacher, The Renert School
Our Impact What We Do
In July 1995 the landscape of Calgary’s theatre scene was dominated by the large regional theatres with only a few small professional companies producing regular seasons. The amateur theatre scene was thriving but it was difficult for young actors, and directors to find regular work in a professional setting. It was against this backdrop that Richard Kenyon, a graduate of the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School, was motivated to start The Shakespeare Company (TSC). From the beginning Richard and his co-founder LuAnne Morrow had two goals in mind: to produce the plays of Shakespeare on a regular basis in innovative and approachable ways and to operate as a professional company, paying the artists and crew who worked on the shows, even if only a small amount, as recognition of the theatre as a profession and the skills, training and effort it requires to produce a great show.
The first production The Shakespeare Company produced was Henry V and was performed in the round at the small space at the Pumphouse Theatre.
The spirit and energy of that first show infused the company for the next 16 years. The Shakespeare Company continued to produce 3-5 Shakespeare plays a year. They started a summer festival in Canmore and developed new plays inspired by Shakespeare. The works of Shakespeare were a constant inspiration and the feedback from audiences, many of whom were exposed to Shakespeare for the first time at TSC shows, was confirmation that the passion of the founders for the Bard went well beyond the company members.
In 2012 Haysam Kadri, took the helm of TSC as its new Artistic Producer. Determined to take the company to the next level, Kadri, a 6 year veteran of the Stratford Festival in Ontario, had three goals.
- Grow the audience.
- Become more of an integral part of the Calgary Theatre scene.
- Become the hottest ticket in town!
In three short years, Haysam met all these goals and so much more. The Shakespeare Company is very proud of its many accomplishments. Here are some stats:
- Increased the number of students seeing our outreach shows by 53% (In 2011 the average number of students that saw our outreach shows was a little over 3500. In 2014 we will finish the year with having over 6000 students attend our outreach shows.)
- Increased the number of public performances by 116% (in 2011 The Shakespeare Company produced, on average, 35 performances. As of 2014 we will have over 80 public performances.)
- Increased the number of attendees to our performances by a staggering 480% (In 2011 the average number of overall attendees was just a little over 2000. In 2014 we our on track to see well over 12,000
- Increased the number of artist we hire by almost 170% (In 2011 32 artists were hired. In 2014 we hired over 80 artists.)
As The Shakespeare Company looks to the future we have new goals and new dreams. We look to have permanent home, continue to grow our subscription base, create a company that has an international reach and create a training ground for the classical actors of the future.
Our Programs How We Do It
Mainstage Productions - Every year The Shakespeare Company produces 4 mainstage productions. Our focus is on William Shakespeare's Cannon of plays and other Shakespeare inspired works. We are committed to making Shakespeare accessible through innovative performances and inspired directing. In addition to this we provide opportunities for emerging artists to work alongside seasoned actors and directors. Each year we employ 25-30 emerging artists. It is our goal to create a lean and mean Shakespeare experience, highlighting the best of the Bard in all his comedy, tragedy, and bawdiness. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/currentseason/
Page to Stage Outreach - Our Page to Stage Outreach Program brings dynamic Shakespeare performance to high schools. A live performance can improve understanding of Shakespeare, improve marks, inspire, solicit self-reflection, and strengthen the spirit of a school. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/education/outreach/
DiVerseCity - This is a new initiative by The Shakespeare Company to create an ensemble of actors of diverse ethnicities to perform Shakespeare in all four quadrants of Calgary. Because Shakespeare’s stories and characters are universal, his text is ideal for showcasing ethnic diversity- a quality Calgary has, but often does not highlight. With colour blind casting, strong artists will have an opportunity to tackle Shakespeare’s best characters and bring a new perspective to Calgarians. Indeed, why not have an Asian Romeo, an Aboriginal Portia, and a Black Hamlet? Each artist’s background will infuse their performance. Skin tone or ethnicity will not be a barrier for them to be cast, one step towards encouraging strong artists to stay in Calgary rather than seek work elsewhere and increasing the representation of the many faces of Calgary in theatre. DiVerseCity is also focused on accessibility for all Calgarians. The ensemble will perform Shakespearean scenes and monologues on platforms along the C-train line and other busy thoroughfares. Site specific theatre is less intimidating for non-theatre goers, and we’re bringing Shakespeare for free to areas where people live and commute to work.. We will be partnering with local organizations to promote the events. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/diversecity/
Our Requests What You Can Do
The Shakespeare Company is nothing without our supporters and audience members. In her book, The Actor Speaks: Voice and the Performer, renowned british theatre director, voice coach and author, Patsy Rodenburg writes,
"Finally, a word or two about the audience. You do matter. A receptive, listening audience is as creative as the actor. That reception will be felt and creatively used by the performer who, without any doubt, will feel your response even if it is just rapt attention. Without an audience theatre does not exsist. Shakespeare's audience walked past taverns, brothels and blood sports to get to the theatre. They made a kind of pilgrimage and wanted to be there to listen, to feel, to be changed."
If you love Shakespeare and are inspired to help us grow into the company we dare to dream is possible, then please contact us to learn more about how you or your organization can support the work we do. You matter! Here is how you can get involved.
Attend a performance: Join us as we explore extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. Celebrating the work of the greatest playwright ever to live The Shakespeare Company performs 4 main stage productions every year. Let us take you on a journey through William Skakespeare's cannon and other plays inspired by his work which are sure to enliven, enrich and inspire. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/tickets/
Bring a friend : One of the greatest gifts you can do for us is bring a friend or family member who may not be familar with Shakespeare and live theatre. Help create an impact that can last a life time. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/tickets/
Volunteer: The Shakespeare Company has many opportunites where you can get involved. Fundraisers, ushering for performances, and special events. If you would like to become a volunteer today just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate: The Shakespeare Company is a not-for-profit society and charitable organization that funds its operations through ticket sales, casino proceeds, government granting programs, and private and corporate donations. The generosity of our supporters plays an integral role in the success and strength of our organization and we are deeply grateful for their continued support. If you share our passion for the power of the spoken word and the pure magic of live theatre, if you love Shakespeare and are inspired to help us grow into the company we dare to dream is possible, then please contact us to learn more about how you or your organization can support the work we do. http://www.shakespearecompany.com/support/