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Shakespeare Santa Cruz Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Organization History
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Shakespeare Santa Cruz records
    creator: Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Theatrical company)
    Identifier/Call Number: UA.041
    Identifier/Call Number: 253
    Physical Description: 128.2 Linear Feet 85 boxes, 9 flat boxes, 4 roll boxes, and 3 flat file folders
    Date (inclusive): 1980-2013
    Language of Material: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Transferred to University Archives from Shakespeare Santa Cruz offices in 1992, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Materials from Paul Whitworth and Ann Gibb transferred to University Archives in 2016.


    This collection is arranged in seven series:
    • Series 1: Production files
    • Series 2: Administrative files
    • Series 3: Artistic Directors' files
    • Series 4: Marketing & Publicity files
    • Series 5: Development files
    • Series 6: Education & Outreach files
    • Series 7: Media
    Materials within each series are arranged chronologically unless otherwise specified.

    Organization History

    Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) was a professional repertory theater company based in and supported by UC Santa Cruz (UCSC). The non-profit theater company produced an annual summer festival that was started by Audrey Stanley and Karen Sinsheimer in 1981 and ran until 2013. SSC was known for serving the local Santa Cruz community, from incorporating local child actors into productions to its noted "Shakespeare to Go" high school outreach program. Each production was staged on the campus of UCSC, often in the wooded Audrey Stanley and Karen Sinsheimer Festival Glen, which Artistic Director Paul Whitworth described as "an eccentric fusion of Shakespeare's Globe, Chartres Cathedral, and Middle Earth." Yet, the company maintained a larger national and global reach by including Actors Equity Association actors and by fostering a longstanding relationship with performers from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Like RSC, Shakespeare Santa Cruz committed itself to studying the theory and practice of contemporary Shakespeare performance, inviting scholars into the production process and providing UCSC students with a window into the acting profession. In 2013, after UCSC was no longer able to provide financial support to the company, Shakespeare Santa Cruz disbanded. In 2014, Santa Cruz Shakespeare was formed as an independent non-profit organization that continues the tradition of summer theater festivals in the local community.
    It was Audrey Stanley's 1975 production of The Winter's Tale that caught the eye of UCSC Dean of Humanities and renowned Shakespearean scholar, Cesar Lombardi Barber, who first suggested the possibility of a Santa Cruz festival. Barber's death early in 1981 prompted UCSC sociology professor Dane Archer to write then-Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer, proposing a Shakespeare festival in Santa Cruz to honor Barber's memory, draw attention to the campus, and provide a medium where often-strained town-gown relations could improve. By late 1980, a group of UCSC faculty, staff, and students as well as members of the local community had already come together as Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In early 1981, Kristin Bolder-Froid submitted a proposal suggesting a 1982 summer festival with two plays, King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream, along with seminars, workshops and films. Chancellor Sinsheimer approved the plan and gave the fledgling company a start-up grant. His wife Karen Sinsheimer, the founding SSC board president, along with Audrey Stanley, Cleo Barber and Stella Kahrs, worked at generating community support and developed a board of directors that would represent the community as "Co-producers" of the festival.
    Until its final season in 2013, Shakespeare Santa Cruz earned a national reputation for producing innovative, experimental, and dynamic Shakespeare productions and other classics. Early embracing the surfer-cosmopolitanism of Santa Cruz, productions incorporated transnational perspectives (the 1984 Balinese-inflected The Tempest) and modern contexts (the 1985 Hamlet as soap opera), but were also grouped by theme and in conjunction with plays by more contemporary authors. Throughout its 31-year history, it had 7 artistic directors who together produced 27 different Shakespeare plays and over 30 dramatic works by writers like Molière, Shaw, Albee, Mamet, and UCSC's own Kate Hawley.
    Borne out of "The Players" – a group of actors who performed in local high-schools – "Shakespeare to Go" was a full-fledged outreach program started by Shakespeare Santa Cruz in 1988 in collaboration with the UCSC Theater Arts Department. Each year, a theater arts faculty member cast and directed a 50-minute version of one of the plays from the upcoming summer season of Shakespeare Santa Cruz. The winter quarter was spent rehearsing the play with the UCSC student actors and the spring quarter was spent touring Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Counties performing for school audiences. Shakespeare to Go introduced the works of Shakespeare to thousands of young people each year through these school performances.
    Starting with Royal Shakespeare Company actor and fourth artistic director Paul Whitworth, SSC began an annual winter "pantomime" festival in 1997. These "pantos" were written by UCSC professor Kate Hawley and directed by Paul Whitworth, and they featured original settings of folktales. Though community friendly in their presentation, the winter festival provided intensive professional training for UCSC students, who worked alongside performers from the Actors Equity Association and stage managers from the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
    Shakespeare Santa Cruz was nationally renowned for its high-quality productions, marriage of scholarship and performance, generation of opportunities for students, and the unique beauty of its setting amongst the campus redwoods. However, SSC faced ongoing budget shortfalls arising from the challenges of running a theater company with immediate fiscal needs in the densely layered financial and bureaucratic context of a large university. In 2013, UC Santa Cruz shuttered Shakespeare Santa Cruz because of these ongoing financial difficulties. During the following year, a popular campaign to renew the festival was started, outside funding was secured, and SSC was reborn as an independently run production company known as Santa Cruz Shakespeare.

    Biographical / Historical


    1980 Four Royal Shakespeare Company Actors visit UCSC to perform The Measure of Our Days: Shakespeare's Great Stage; Audrey Stanley tours a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in dedication to the late Professor C.L. Barber
    1981 In May, The Taming of the Shrew is performed at UCSC's Quarry Amphitheatre
    1982 Inaugural season of Shakespeare Santa Cruz
    1983 SSC first starts working with local child actors and in high schools
    1985 The festival expands administratively; "The Players" go into local high schools
    1987 First seminar for local teachers
    1988 "Shakespeare to Go" starts; Michael Warren begins tradition of writing scholarly pieces in the summer festival program
    1989 C.L. Barber Scholarship fund starts
    1991 10th anniversary season; Audrey Stanley stars as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream
    1992 The Festival Glen is officially named the "Audrey Stanley and Karen Sinsheimer Festival Glen"
    1997 First Winter holiday show ( Wind in the Willows)
    2004 First year that the intern company performs for the public (Aristophanes' Lysistrata, directed by Bonnie Leigh Mill), initiating a "Festival Fringe"
    2008 Last Winter show before hiatus ( Wind in the Willows)
    2011 Winter show begins again ( A Year with Frog and Toad)
    2013 Final season of Shakespeare Santa Cruz

    Preferred Citation

    Shakespeare Santa Cruz records. UA 41. University Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Processing Information

    Partially processed in 2006. Fully processed by Megan Martenyi, LuLing Osofsky, and Alexander Ullman in the Center for Archival Research and Training (CART) with assistance from Alix Norton, 2016-2017.
    Most titles in this collection were derived from the original folder titles as received from the donor.

    Related Materials

    For a list of cataloged videos of Shakespeare Santa Cruz productions, click this link , or search "Shakespeare Santa Cruz" in the author field in Cruzcat . The following oral histories are available for UC Santa Cruz figures who were involved in the history of Shakespeare Santa Cruz: Additional related collections: MS 108 Santa Cruz County Theatre collection, 1974-1982

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection documents the history of the professional theatre repertory company, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which was established on the UC Santa Cruz campus in 1981 and ended in 2013. The collection contains production files for nearly every show produced by the organization, including the summer festival shows, the holiday shows, and the "Shakespeare to Go" educational outreach performances at local schools. Administrative files include planning and financial documentation, correspondence, and reports from the Managing Director and the Board of Directors, as well as key historical documents from the early administration of the organization. Publicity clippings, grant applications, fundraising, and marketing materials document the non-profit organization's significant focus on fundraising. The organization's commitment to community engagement is shown in the Education & Outreach series, which includes curriculum planning documents, scripts, and photographs from the Shakespeare to Go program, as well as materials from various other outreach events. The Media series contains production recordings as well as soundtracks and audio cues used in performances, digital photographs, and recordings of interviews with Shakespeare Santa Cruz staff and company.
    Forms of materials include production books, costume and set designs, photographs, posters, programs, correspondence, financial reports and documents, newspaper clippings, promotional and marketing materials for distribution such as flyers and brochures, scrapbooks, grant applications, handbooks for company members, audiovisual media, and digital media such as floppy disks and DVDs.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright for portions of this collection resides with the Regents of the University of California. The publication or use of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use for research or educational purposes requires written permission from the copyright owner. UCSC Special Collections and Archives can grant permission to publish materials to which it holds the copyright. For permission to reproduce or publish the material, or to order a reproduction, please visit guides.library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/reproduction-publication.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Theatrical company)