Message from Jeff Watkins: Letter for the 2008-2009 Season

The Shakespeare Tavern® is nearing its 20th anniversary on Peachtree Street. And if that weren’t enough to make my head spin, they tell me we’ve made it look easy!

It’s never been easy of course. I might say “intensely rewarding with a great many learning opportunities” . . . but never easy. Or maybe the character of Phillip Henslowe in the movie Shakespeare in Love put it best when he said “The natural condition [of theatre] is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.”

Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Looking forward is another matter of course. These are interesting times to say the least.

Against all odds, Atlanta Shakespeare Company's 07-08 season turned out to be one of our most successful ever. More than 50,000 people came to the Shakespeare Tavern®. We presented 290 performances of more than a dozen productions. Our education programs reached into 93 communities in Georgia and four neighboring states. What's even more remarkable is that at a time when whole industries are collapsing and the tectonic plates of the global economy are shifting beneath our very feet, we even managed to reverse a pernicious trend of creeping red ink at the bottom line and post a small surplus.

But that was then. Our future begins today and we’re all going to be learning a great deal starting pretty much now.

That’s why we have chosen this year of all years to be the best we can. Yes we’ll bring you A Christmas Carol, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. But we’ll also bring you all three parts of Shakespeare’s phenomenally popular Henry VI, Antony & Cleopatra, Kit Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, The Canterbury Tales and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

On our best nights it will look easy. It won’t be of course. It’s just that as the vise tightens and each and every one of us are forced to pick and choose what to do with what little time and money we have left, I believe in my soul that we owe it to ourselves, our children and each other to be all of who we are to the best of our ability.

Of course it goes without saying the food is great and we serve only the finest ales!

The Shakespeare Tavern®: 20 years of making it look easy!


Be there,
Jeff Watkins
Artistic Director, ASC

Letters from Jeff