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So many truths in all of this. Shakespeare Santa Cruz was a great company, launching many a career and entertaining so many SC County folks for generations. What killed SSC? Parochialism, a Theater Arts department that never fully embraced the program, a town/gown divide exacerbated by SSC's refusal to cast fewer equity actors and UCSC's slowness in starting an MA in Theater Arts program (all of which translated to a season that was always too short to fully recoup expenses), a series of programming choices (remember 1993?) that left the company perpetually running in the red, a university that is more concerned with opening new tech programs in their Silicon Valley campus than maintaining an arts based connection with the city and county of Santa Cruz, a community that has too many choices and too few tax revenues... In the end, the arts are not a profit exercise. To expect them to be is absurd. JK Rowling is a billionaire, Jack London died impoverished. Leroy Nieman died wealthy, Van Gogh never sold a painting. Quality in the arts does not equate to monetary success, nor does artistic risk taking. And let's be clear, from Michael to Danny to Paul to Marco (and Audrey through it all), SSC had both quality and artistic bravado. I too disagree with the idea that SSC should have been expected to be a break even enterprise. Few university programs are, even fewer that are based in the arts. But UCSC is less than 50 years old, a bumbling adolescent in the world of higher education. And because he was a newcomer to Santa Cruz, what is clear that Dean Yager never understood that SSC wasn't just a UCSC asset. It was a hybrid of university and town citizenry, a blend of student interns, local theatre buffs, Shakespearean scholars, and equity talent. Actors stayed in local's homes, partied at local pubs, built multi-decade relationships (thanks Mike Ryan aka Buttons!), taught kids that obscure language is still dynamic and other words, SSC educated and entertained the citizenry of Santa Cruz County and beyond, while serving as the University's flagship ambassador to the community. First the UCSC Arts and Lectures Program, now SSC, what reason does anyone from Santa Cruz County have to venture onto the UCSC campus? Let's all pray for the fledgling UCSC opera program and Long Marine Lab, since without those programs, we'll have no reason to take our kids to UCSC anymore, or to go ourselves.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2013 on What Killed Shakespeare Santa Cruz? at Parabasis
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Aug 29, 2013