Shakespeare came to Seattle. The first time was on March 15, 1875 as the Fanny Morgan Phelps Company performed The Taming of the Shrew at Yesler’s Hall. “All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It. “And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances.” That’s true for theaters as well. Though the Fanny Morgan Phelps Company is a long distant memory classical theatre is alive and well in Seattle thanks to Seattle Shakespeare Company.
With mainstage performances at the Center House Theater, Seattle Shakespeare Company, under artistic director George Mount, strives to engage audiences, artists and communities in the universal human experience inherent in classic drama. Classics, they perform, and not just the Bard’s work, though that is their main focus. Recent indoor productions include Love’s Labour’s Lost, Antony and Cleopatra and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Traveling productions have included Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar.
They do more than what’s on stage at the Center House Theater. Much more. Every summer, through Wooden O, they perform Shakespeare for free at various beautiful outdoor spaces throughout the region. Henry V, outside. The Tempest, outside. Families come with picnic dinners and beach chairs to see productions of Shakespeare’s finest works. “Unquiet meals make ill digestions,” Shakespeare wrote in The Comedy of Errors. Luckily, with Wooden O, it’s never unquiet but filled with the Bard’s works.
Also, with Seattle Shakespeare Company’s education department, 24,000 youth in the Seattle area and across the state learn about Shakespeare and live theatre. Seattle Shakespeare Company actors and teaching artists take students on journeys of self-discovery.
Shakespeare is long from dead. He’s alive all year long thanks to the Seattle Shakespeare Company.
For more information about the organization, its season and its programs, please visit www.seattleshakespeare.org.