From the Executive Producer
“You start with the philosophy that theater is important to people’s lives. If you don’t believe this, then you might as well give up.”
Joseph Papp, Founder of New York’s Shakespeare in the Park.
If you're reading this I presume you are about to watch, or perchance have just finished watching, a picnic performance of Shakespeare by the Lakes II: Twelfth Night. Excuse the tiny note of personal pride, but I had one little idea in July 2017 and then all these amazing and talented and generous people picked it up, kept running really hard, and now look at they've achieved.
You see, Shakespeare by the Lakes I: Much Ado About Nothing was a play in the dark. Last year we just weren’t sure if any Canberran was going to turn up. But you did. More than 4200 of you to four performances (definitely more than the size of our cast and crew, which was my personal goal). And because our vision is to make this a Canberra tradition, here we are again once more with feeling.
While free Shakespeare outdoors is a good idea that works a treat in cities all over the world - most spectacularly in New York’s Central Park with Shakespeare in the Park - Canberra’s version is unique in Australia. Shakespeare by the Lakes aims to make the bard more accessible - it is (risk) free, and more fun - it is a lovely summer evening of quality theatre in a community park with food trucks, live music and english literature’s greatest hits.
You may have noticed that Shakespeare by the Lakes II is bigger and (we think) better this year. More time and more effort into more shows for more Canberrans. Which means more money needed from more sponsors and more public donations. Which we’ve received. However, you are all welcome and encouraged to keep helping us by making a quick and generous donation here (because the less in debt we are thanks to your help, the easier it is for our to ask our special people if we can do Shakespeare by the Lakes III: ??? in 2020).
Because our Patron Sponsors South.Point Tuggeranong, National Capital Toyota (Tuggeranong) and ICON Water increased their support for our vision of free, accessible Shakespeare performances, because new sponsors like the ACT Government through ACT Historic Places and its City Renewal Authority’s City Grants program, the National Capital Authority and Beyond Bank have got behind us, because old sponsors like McDonalds Tuggeranong and MLC Finance Canberra have stuck with us, because partners like the Diplomat Hotel, EAVS Event Services and Communities@Work have again provided critical, valuable support in 2019 we are presenting an outstanding local cast directed by the extraordinary Christopher Stollery while remaining the only troupe in Canberra who bring our performances to Tuggeranong, Glebe Park and Lake Burley Griffin.
Like last year, 2019’s Shakespeare by the Lakes II: Twelfth Night is a show only because so many people are wonderful and hard-working, including the volunteer stewards helping you today and new additions to our team like Cerri Murphy and Kacey Lam. But the engines remain my partners in Lakespeare & Co - Duncan Driver, Lexi Sekuless, Cathy Day and the Prince of Production, Paul Leverenz. They are amazing and Paul is the best.
We’re all here because of them, and isn’t it lovely?
See you next year.
Founder & Executive Producer