We get asked all the time about the process leading up to our summer of admission-free performances. So as we head into our 22nd season, we invite you to go behind the scenes for an insider look at what it’s like to put up two plays in rep, touring to over 20 locations, and playing for upwards of twenty thousand people every summer. I will be contributing as will Patrick Vest, who has directed for the festival in the past, performed in more seasons than I can count, and is also our fight choreographer.
I’m Stephanie Coltrin, and I am thrilled to be back for what I recently realized is my tenth anniversary season. I am the Associate Festival Producer and also direct one production each year. I have directed so many of my favorites – Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, King John, Hamlet, The Tempest, Othello, Macbeth, and The Winter’s Tale, and this year is no exception- I’m excited to add Henry V to the list (more on the play itself soon).
When asked what it’s like to do Shakespeare by the Sea, the short answer is- it’s awesome. And I don’t mean that in a “dude” kind of way. I mean it in the sense of inspiring feelings of reverence, admiration and awe. And even then, that word does not begin to encompass the breadth of the experience. I have seen the impact of this thing we do time and time again. The festival has a way of creating waves of influence on those who participate, and I’ve seen it leave a lasting impression on the audience, as well. SBTS becomes a big family every year. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Every year we become one big family with a shared love of Shakespeare working toward a common goal- to tell great stores in a thoughtful yet accessible way- and to take those stories out to audiences all over Southern California. Those audiences also become a huge part of our extended family.
Where are we in the process? We are at really in the thick of getting ready to go time- locations are being booked, casting notices have been posted and submissions are being reviewed, audition invitations will go out in the next few days, special events are being planned, rehearsal schedules drafted, and designers are starting to work. And I’m going to talk about all of it! Being that it’s also a big anniversary for me with SBTS, I will also do some reflection on my experience in past seasons as a way of illustrating why I come back year after year.
So follow us here to see everything that’s happening behind the scenes as we dive into the start of our 22nd season!