Message from Jeff Watkins: Letter for the 2002-2003 Season

2002-03 Letter

I woke up that morning a little confused.

It was chilly and half a dozen blankets lent their weight to the cotton sheets against my skin. Above my head— barely five feet away— I could see the exposed beams of the ceiling along with a patchwork of insulation, pipe, and a covered skylight.

After months of backpacking around Europe, I wasn’t even sure what language I’d be speaking that morning. Then I remembered I was home. I was in “the States”. I was in Atlanta, Georgia.

My “loft”, as I came to call it, was an 8’x8’ platform over the costume shop of what was then the Acme Theater on N. Highland Ave. I would live there for the next two months as a cast of characters would enter and change my life forever.

. . . the writer Jim Grimsley, the designer Monte Schuth, stage manager Cindy Kearns (still with me after sixteen years!), Greg Carraway, my dear friend Prissy Smith (the soul of Acme), and Elisabeth Lewis Corely— the woman who placed into my care the delicate seeds that would become The New American Shakespeare Tavern . . .

It was a long time ago. We put on Jimmy’s new play The Existentialists. It was a violent story and I was murdered twenty-one times in six weeks.

It had nothing to do with Shakespeare. But then again, it had everything to do with Shakespeare. Because it was that play, almost two decades ago, that led me to what has become my life’s work: The Shakespeare Tavern on Peachtree Street.

If you’ve never been here, you’re in for a treat.

Like a lot of other companies, we do Shakespeare. We also do Brecht, Marlowe, Williams, Anouilh, Cocteau, Genet, Shaw and more. But we’re not like the others. And from the instant you enter our performing space you’ll know it in your bones.

This is physical theater. Theater that finds your eyes and speaks to your soul. The New American Shakespeare Tavern is a place where the long forgotten stagecraft of the Elizabethan Theater is rediscovered with every performance. It’s a place of passion, poetry, and truth.

It also just may be the most FUN you’ve ever had with your shoes on.

After all, we not only give you the best plays ever written, we serve ‘em up with Shepherd’s Pie, Cornish Pasty and Harp, Guinness & Bass on tap.

So come to The New American Shakespeare Tavern. It’s a place out of time, where on any given night, a cast of characters can enter and change your life forever.

Be there.


Very Truly Yours,

Jeff Watkins
Artistic Director, ASC

Letters from Jeff