As part of its multi-year process to create a strong operating model, Georgia Shakespeare today announced the key elements of its 2013 artistic programming, which include a more focused approach to its summer productions, as well as further development of "Shakespeare in the Park" into one of Atlanta's signature cultural events.
"Entering 2012, we committed to taking meaningful actions to move to a sustainable operating model," said Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Richard Garner. "We designed our 2013 line-up to re-establish a strong foundation that will enable us to grow in a healthy way in the years that follow."
The 2013 schedule will focus on four major productions. The season kicks off May 1-5 with the company's expanded "Shakespeare in the Park" in Piedmont Park, featuring a remount of 2012's Much Ado About Nothing. Last May, the production moved to the new Legacy Fountain area, where the single largest audience in Georgia's Shakespeare's 27-year history - more than 1,000 people - attended the Saturday night performance of The Tempest.
In the summer, the company will remount Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, based on the myths of Ovid, which will open June 21 at the Conant Performing Arts Center. The play is also being revived this year at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre and Washington's Arena Stage in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of its first appearance on Broadway. Georgia Shakespeare first produced Metamorphoses in 2006, and that popular production remains the company's most critically acclaimed and best-attended show.
Also in the summer, the company will present the World Premiere of Mighty Myths & Legends, a family show written by Garner. The play also focuses on the myths of Ovid, making it a highly complementary companion production with Metamorphoses.
In the fall, the company will present a full-scale production of Hamlet at the Conant Performing Arts Center.
The 2013 Season reflects two major strategic shifts for Georgia Shakespeare.
First, backed with multi-year support from the Charles Loridans Foundation, Georgia Shakespeare sees great potential to build "Shakespeare in the Park" into one of Atlanta's signature cultural events.
"We see Shakespeare in the Park as a cornerstone of our focus on programming that is both artistically bold and financially sustainable," said Managing Director Lauren Morris. "With last year's move to a new space and ticketing approach, we saw that we have tremendous potential to attract new audiences."
The second shift is the summer focus on two stand-alone productions, with one targeted at adults and one targeted at families. Based on what it learns in 2013, the company intends to add additional programming in 2014 in ways that further strengthen its sustainability.
"We feel the best way to shift to a new model is to start with a very focused approach and then judiciously build off of that solid foundation over time," said Garner. "We see the changes we are making for 2013 as a step in a longer-term process, not as our final destination."
Faced with closing in late 2011, the company conducted an emergency "Save Georgia Shakespeare" campaign, surpassing its goal of raising the $500,000 required to stabilize the company's operations. Emerging from that campaign, the company's board and staff committed to building a new operating model that would enable the theater to break from the financial stress that had become a constant threat in recent years.
On June 22, 2012, the company formally launched its Annual Fund Campaign, with the goal of raising $1 million by Jan. 31, 2013 from individuals, corporations, foundations and the community. Over the past weekend, the campaign achieved its goal of reaching $450,000 by the end of the summer season, which concluded on Sunday, Aug. 5.
To stay on track with the campaign, the theater must next reach $650,000 by the end of October, when its fall production of Macbeth concludes.
"We're off to a solid start with the campaign, but it's critical that we hit our goals along the way," said Ashley Preisinger, co-chair of the company's board of trustees. "We're confident our approach in 2013 will put us in a much stronger position, but we've got to meet our 2012 contributions goals first."
Current subscribers can renew their subscriptions beginning in October 2012. New subscriptions for the 2013 season will go on sale in February 2013, and single tickets will go on sale in March 2013. (Dates are subject to change.)