As we look behind us at 2021 (and 2020; time is a blur), it’s sometimes hard to believe we not only made it through but exceeded our lofty goals and excelled in our accomplishments.
Though SVS started in 1999 with humble roots and an annual budget of just $1,000, the tireless support of our community continually pushes us to dream big, make bold choices, and break ground for tomorrow. We’ve spent the last 23 seasons building on that modest foundation, growing to an annual budget of $220,000 and creating a house with doors wide open and a home big enough to fit all in the SVS family.
Despite a second year of being apart, we persevered and drew closer together, connecting with our community. And we’ve learned that online programs allow us to stay true to our founding mission of providing theatre access to those who might otherwise be shut out of the arts, better serving patrons with suppressed immune systems, artists with disabilities, primary caregivers tied to the home, and more.
With your help, we:
- Produced 14 world-premiere short plays, cultivating emerging and new-to-us artists
- Partnered with a plethora of artistic and community organizations, continuing our longstanding friendship with ComedySportz San Jose while embarking on first-ever co-productions with South Bay Musical Theatre (Pride and Prejudice) and The Tabard Theatre Company (Shylock)
- Raised $8,000 for the Gastric Cancer Foundation with our one-night-only benefit performance of Twelfth Night featuring a generous cast of volunteer artists whose lives have all been touched by cancer
- Explored innovative digital productions, with The “Dear Will” Letters, mixing live Zoom segments with scenes filmed in our beloved Sanborn Park, and our multimedia event Folktales From Around the World, showcasing the creative talents and original works of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) writers, actors, composers, and visual artists
- Produced other programs like our podcast, ShakesPod (including three free, feature-length Shakespeare audio plays); our online Summer Camp for Youth and Teens; two book club events diving into stories from Mexico, India, and Cuba; and the in-person Summer Social gathering at our much-missed Willow St. Park, where we finally got to exchange hellos, hugs, and elbow-bumps for the first time in far too long
Through it all, we provided free attendance to 53% of attendees (nearly $28,500 in free admission), hired 52% BIPOC-identifying artists and 55% women, and completed YouTube captioning for half our full-length free shows.
Somehow, in our “spare” time, we also looked ahead to our future, and worked toward exciting home improvements for 2022 and beyond to better serve all in our community. These include:
- Filming at least one mainstream summer production for streaming online
- Adding ASL-interpreted performances
- Providing 10 complimentary tickets nightly to our Sanborn shows, available to the public for those with financial need
- Launching an accessibility Flex Fund for our artists who may need financial support to participate in productions
In short, the future looks bright and our house is growing, thanks to YOU! It is directly because of you that we’ve prevailed these last two years and are now overjoyed we can say:
Welcome back to the parks!
That’s right—we’re coming back home…
And we cannot wait to see you in person in 2022! In June, we make a triumphant return to Willow St. Park with our FREE production of Romeo and Juliet, presented for the modern audience and performed with a female Romeo because #loveislove. In July, we return to Sanborn Park with Shakespeare’s tragicomedy Measure for Measure, set during the #MeToo movement, and paired with Kate Hamill’s playful adaptation of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
Your generous support makes this possible! And to help us kickstart our next season, a generous anonymous donor has offered to match all donations to Silicon Valley Shakespeare dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000, through the end of November.
Please give today, and see your tax-deductible contribution have DOUBLE the impact in bringing Shakespeare back to the parks in 2022!
Thanks for your support,