With Shakespeare as our standard and inspiration, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF produces bold professional theater, develops new plays, and provides innovative educational experiences that enrich our community.
- Orlando Shakes has produced 148 plays over twenty-six seasons.
- Orlando Shakes has reached 1.6 million patrons and growing.
- Orlando Shakes reaches 35,000 students annually through its Education programming.
- Orlando Shakes has produced 22 world premiere productions.
- The annual expenditures of Orlando Shakes within Central Florida will exceed $5.1 million next year.
- Orlando Shakes provides 24 full-time jobs and 11 seasonal jobs within Central Florida. Additionally, over 150 artists are used on an annual basis.
- The Lowndes Shakespeare Center has been fully renovated to include four performance venues, two rehearsal halls, a meeting/reception room, and office and shop space for all staff.
- Orlando Shakes merged the New Play Series into the Signature Series and renamed the TYA Series to the Children's Series.
- Orlando Shakes had over 75,000 attendees to productions during the course of the 2013-2014 season.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater is the only professional, classical theater company in Central Florida. Orlando Shakes began as a project by UCF professor, Stuart Omans under the name Orlando Shakespeare Festival in 1989. Performances were done at the Walt Disney Amphitheater of Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando; which would continue for 17 years. In 1995, the Festival began expanding its season and commissioned a non-Shakespeare play for the first time. Plays were staged in rented spaces and the struggle to find performance space created a need to find a permanent home. In late 2001, the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park opened its doors, giving the Theater the opportunity to provide exceptional audience experiences and become the first professional regional theater in Central Florida. In 2007, the name was officially changed to Orlando Shakespeare Theater to better reflect the year-round programming that was being offered.
In addition to producing live theater, Orlando Shakes has an established educational program that has grown to include in-school residencies, study guides, on-site classes, and summer camps. Moreover, the Education department houses a training program for emerging young professional artists through apprenticeships and internships in acting and technical disciplines. In the fall of 2007, OST welcomed UCF MFA students-in-residence for the first time.
New play development is an important component of OST’s mission, and is celebrated at our annual new play festival, PlayFest. Growing out of PlayLab, PlayFest has become a prestigious event that draws highly regarded playwrights, diverse theater and production companies, along with audiences from around the world. Many plays that originated during PlayFest have progressed to successful runs in other theaters. In 2008, the Theater joined the prestigious National New Play Network and hosted their annual conference. Additionally, in 2008, the Theater saw the publication of The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge by Dramatists Play Service and Robinson Crusoe by PlayScripts, which both originated through PlayFest.
Throughout PlayFest’s history, the event has presented more than 149 new plays and master classes/keynote addresses by such award-winning artists as Israel Horovitz, Jeffrey Hatcher, Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Tony Award winner Jon Jory. This year, playwright, author, and film and television writer Mark St. Germain, thrilled audiences with his storytelling and Keynote Address.
With the overarching goal of producing bold professional theater, the Theater presents a six play Signature Series comprised of a combination of Shakespeare's works, classic literature, and Tony award-winning plays that adhere to Shakespeare's standard of language and artistry. Each production includes evening, senior matinee and student matinee performances, accounting for approximately 175 performances and 40,000 patrons annually. The Theater uses professional actors and technicians and has contracts with Actors’ Equity Association and United Scenic Artists.
Short-term success for the Signature Series is measured by several factors, including average percent of capacity for each show, overall attendance and single ticket revenue figures.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s bold professional productions strive to bring the community together for a live, one-time only experience. Each performance is unique and stands alone as a work of art. Long-term success for the Signature series will be determined by the Theater’s ability to expand the Series to a year-round schedule, adding more plays, and/or creating additional similar series for each season. Additionally, a long-term goal of the Theater is to offer a free Shakespeare production outdoors in Loch Haven Park. Other goals for the Signature Series are to allow for year-round employment for production management staff, increase national audiences, and finding new ways to partner with other arts and educational institutions.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater uses a ticket sales and contact management database to track all financial and attendance figures, and to analyze growth over both short and long term periods.
three of the four past seasons, the Wall Street Journal critic, Terry Teachout,
has flown to Orlando to review a production. These reviews have been
consistently positive and have garnered national attention for our production
of the works. The reviews have also had a positive impact with patrons from the
Southeast region attending after having read the review.
As education is an important facet of our Mission Statement, the Children's Series (formerly Theater for Young Audiences Series) allows the Theater to introduce a younger generation to the arts. Each season, three productions are carefully chosen to create this series based on feedback from teachers and the public. Each production focuses on meeting specific Common Core standards. Our Education department creates a study guide for teachers to use prior to attending to allow the work in the classroom to be tied back to the live performance.
Short-term success for the Theater for Young Audiences series is measured by several factors, including educational outreach, repeat participation, overall attendance, and revenue figures.
With the TYA Series, the Theater will strives for more schools from additional counties to attend the performances, and to be able to include additional classroom offerings in preparation with the live performances.
For the 25thseason, the Theater has partnered with Magic Tree House and Orange County Public Schools to provide free books to Title I students prior to seeing a live production. Over 34,000 books will be provided by the end of the program, and student reading scores will be measured to judge the impact provided by the books. Earning the opportunity for this type of partnership reflects on the high quality of the Theater’s productions.
is a prestigious event featuring highly regarded national and promising young
playwrights, and theater artists, such as Pulitzer winners, Robert Schenkkan,
Nilo Cruz, Israel Horovitz, and Pulitzer finalist, Theresa Rebeck, as well as
Oscar-winners Olympia Dukakis and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Writers are afforded
the opportunity to interact with audiences as they work from page to stage.
For this program, it is very easy to evaluate short term successes by the number of plays that continue on to be produced whether at our organization or at other theaters. We also receive feedback on the last day of the event from the playwrights that participated to analyze the benefit to them in crafting their story.
New works that are able to receive multiple productions and eventually move to on or off Broadway are the goals for the program. The Theater strives to continue the relationship with the playwright in not only developing the language of the play, but also developing the play’s future success in the theater community.
program has garnered two published works with The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge and
Robinson Crusoe. It has also seen eighteen World Premiere productions, of which
two were Rolling World Premieres through the National New Play Network. The
Exit Interview most recently had five theaters produce the work in a single
Orlando Shakes educational programs include four areas:
Internships/Apprenticeships: The Theater provides internships for young theater artists to work with seasoned professional actors, technicians, and administrators.
Youth & Adult Classes: Orlando Shakes offers a wide variety of Saturday morning classes for students from pre-K to senior citizens, allowing students to experience personal growth through theater.
Shakespeare in Schools: Orlando Shakes uses arts integration to assist teachers with fulfilling Sunshine State Standards in Language Arts, Drama, Health and Wellness, and other subjects. Student matinee performances are available for field trips.
Summer Programs: Camps for students from pre-K to 12th grade are offered each summer, including The Young Company, a summer workshop for high school students, and Shakespeare with Heart, a camp for teens with and without special needs in partnership with UCP of Central Florida and UCF Exceptional Education Department.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater collaborates with numerous other organizations within Central Florida, across the United States, and internationally. Our most recent collaboration involved a partnership with Prague Shakespeare in the Czech Republic. Our co-production of Julius Caesar first performed in Orlando, then moved to Prague. Three of the Orlando cast members, the director, costumes and sets all traveled to Prague for a week of performances at the National Theater.
In Spring of 2013 a collaboration with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra took place to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the music of Mendelssohn. This successful artistic collaboration brought together stage and musical stars of Orlando in the most celebrated of all musical scores written for a classic play. On a national level, OST was the lead theater in a National New Play Network collaboration, presenting the World Premiere of The Exit Interview in October 2012. Other theaters that participated in this Rolling World Premiere program are: San Diego Repertory (October 2012), Riverside Theatre (October 2012), and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (April 2013). OST is proud to continue to work with playwrights and develop new work for the stage that is seen nationally.
In 2010, the Theater partnered with Osceola County Schools to create an innovative arts integration program, training both teachers and students in eight high schools. OST continues a 20-year tradition of working within the Orange and Seminole County School districts as well. Additionally, the Theater lead a co-production of The 39 Steps with The Florida Repertory Theatre in Ft. Myers and Actor's Playhouse in Coral Gables. The show kicked off OST’s 22nd season and then completed runs at three additional theaters with the Theater’s original cast, scenery and costumes.
PJ Albert began work with Orlando Shakespeare Theater in 2001 as the Master Electrician during the initial renovation of the Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Since that time, he has held the positions of Production Manager, Guest Services Director, Business Manager and General Manager before being promoted to Managing Director. PJ has a background in Theater, specializing in Technical Production. He has worked as an Event Manager, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, and Pyrotechnics Designer for companies such as Santa Fe Opera, Williamstown Theatre Festival and RSL Theatrical. He has also done contract work for AFLAC, Synovus, Aaron’s, and Harley Davidson.
BA, Miami University of Ohio; MA, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Jim Helsinger was appointed Artistic Director in the fall of 1995. A veteran of television, film and off-Broadway, he has directed or appeared in over 30 regional productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Mr. Helsinger has also appeared in or directed at numerous regional theaters throughout North America. As a playwright he has adapted several pieces of classic literature for the stage. Mr. Helsinger has been an officer on the board of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America and is currently on the board of the prestigious National Theater Conference. He is also a member of the faculty of the Theater Department at the University of Central Florida.
Barbara joined the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in 2011. Barbara, originally from New Jersey, began her professional career in Rhode Island before moving to Florida in 2004. Barbara has worked in a financial capacity for over 25 years within both state and local government, for profit and non-profit entities. She received her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island and her BSBA with majors in Finance and Marketing from Boston University.
Cynthia White joined Orlando Shakespeare Theater via Seattle, Wash. as the Director of New Play Development in summer 2015. She also serves as
a professor in Directing at UCF and director of OST’s Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain. Prior to joining OST, Cynthia directed
Shakespeare’s Othello at Marin
Shakespeare Company, A Midsummer Night’s
Dream at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Cymbeline,
The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, and others at
Shakespeare festivals and universities across the country. She has also
directed premier productions of Emma’s
Child, Nicholas Nickleby the Musical,
and Robin Hood the Adventure Continues
and created the play development program at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
while serving as an associate director there. She taught Acting Shakespeare and
Acting Styles at Western Washington University and directed Macbeth at Bellevue College in Seattle.
She is a member of SDC.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Although the Income/Expense graph above shows a yearly deficit of around -$200,000, this is mainly due to depreciation and amortization of our building and equipment. Depreciation and amortization represent non-cash expenditures that are not components of the annual operating budget for the Theater. For example, our theater complex is leased from the City of Orlando and depreciates at an average of $138,303 per year.
An important line item in the Audit Documents that non-profits often focus on to determine the success of operations for the year is "net cash provided by operating activities" found of the statement of cash flows. For the year ended May 31, 2011, the audit reflects a surplus in net cash provided by operating activities of approximately $57,241. For year 2010, the Theater generated net cash provided by operating activities of $12,697. For year 2009, the Theater generated $157,921 net cash provided by operating activities.
We believe these factors should be taken into consideration to determine the financial health of the Theater. Currently, Orlando Shakespeare Theater carries no debt, maintains positive cash flow, holds a current 238 day cash reserve (as determined by United Arts’ formula) and has approximately $470,000 in reserves. We track expenditures very closely to ensure that we continue on a path of positive growth.
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