Theater Wooden O and Seattle Shakes Merge
posted by April 7 at 16:50 PMon
The city’s minor and major Shakespeare companies merged last Wednesday, which makes total sense—they’ve shared missions, audiences, and aesthetics since forever.
Wooden O (budget around $90,000, operating in the black) was the smaller, outdoor-Shakespeare company that served as a kind of farm team for Seattle Shakes. A few actors and directors (like Sheila Daniels, now at Intiman) did a few Wooden O productions before graduating to Shakes.
Seattle Shakespeare Company (budget around $900,000, also in the black) is the permanent company living in a theater on the bottom floor of Seattle Center.
Seattle Shakes managing director John Bradshaw says Wooden O will benefit by having more resources and infrastructure to cultivate its outdoor and touring programs. Seattle Shakes will benefit from Wooden O’s touring skills so they can bring Shakes-level productions “to every corner of the state.”
(Bringing Shakespeare to the hinterlands has been the NEA’s conservative and middlebrow mission since the combined effects of the NEA Four, Newt G’s Republican revolution, and the Bush administration have cowed the NEA into a frightened, small child, hiding in a corner of the US government. One could be forgive for thinking that Seattle Shakes merged with Wooden O to get some of the NEA’s “Shakespeare in American Communities” money—but they’ve already received that grant for three years running.)
Read Charles Mudede’s review of The Miser, currently on at Seattle Shakes, here. It contains perhaps my favorite closing sentences in the Mudede canon: “Everyone will see your gums in the dark.”