California Shakespeare Theater announced today that its recently concluded 2012 season was the best attended in the organization's history, capping a stellar year of unprecedented growth for the organization. In addition to finishing the year in the black and breaking box office and attendance records, 2012's other accomplishments included: the launch of programming designed to engage more people in the act of theater making via the Triangle Lab; measurable growth of the Artistic Learning programs; and the addition of a solar array which marked the ongoing commitment to stewardship of the Bruns Amphitheater.
"2012 was a year of enormous advancement for Cal Shakes, especially in bringing new voices into our theatrical community, both on our main stage and through our Triangle Lab," says Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. "Our productions strove to reflect the rich and complex diversity of our Bay Area, and they were met with resounding success by the largest audience we've ever experienced at Cal Shakes. This inspires me to continue to expand who participates in theater making at Cal Shakes, with full support of our board and our incredibly hard-working staff."
"I'm so proud of what we accomplished in 2012," added Managing Director Susie Falk, "and grateful that with the support of so many foundations, corporations, and generous individuals, we were able to increase our reach and deepen our impact in the community."
Some of the highlights of Cal Shakes' impact on Bay Area communities in 2012 are:
Record-breaking attendance: In 2012, the Theater welcomed a record 50,000+ patrons to the Bruns and saw an 18% increase in paid attendance over the previous season. Ticket sales reached an all-time high of $1.8 million, with all four 2012 Main Stage productions ranking among the top ten highest grossing of the company's history. Subscribers renewed at a record 86% renewal rate. In addition, 2012 saw a 54% increase in group sales over the previous year.
Outstanding financial support: The Cal Shakes' community of individuals, corporations, and foundations responded generously this past year, enabling the company to expand programming and deepen its commitment to providing access to the arts. Some of the monetary milestones this year included a record-shattering $173K "Fund-A-Need" at the annual "One Great Party" to support Cal Shakes' education programs in underserved schools and community centers; new and renewed foundation grants; a 62% increase in corporate support over the prior year; a successful annual fund campaign; and a budget surplus.
More students connect to Shakespeare: Cal Shakes' Student Discovery matinees served a record 4,630 students, requiring additional matinees to meet the substantial demand. The Summer Shakespeare Conservatories increased its registrations by 4% over 2011, adding a three-week session in Oakland to its sold-out two- and five-week sessions in Oakland and Lafayette. A total of 294 students ages 8-18, including 35 scholarship students from low-income families, spent mornings studying various theater disciplines, and afternoons rehearsing and performing a Shakespeare play.
The Triangle Lab deepens the audience's experience: A partnership between Cal Shakes and San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts + Campo Santo, the Triangle Lab became a highly visible part of the Cal Shakes experience during Spunk, by hosting a variety of pre- and post-show participatory activities including an interactive art installation, a blues "holla jam" to invite audiences to learn about the history of call-and-response and to create their own blues chant, and onstage dance parties where audience members enjoyed dancing in the style featured in the production.
The Bruns goes solar: In January 2012, the Bruns Amphitheater became one of the largest solar-powered outdoor theaters in the country by installing a state-of-the-art system that provides nearly 98% of the Theater's power needs.
Cal Shakes is grateful to the following foundations for their generous support of our 2012 programming: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group, National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare for a New Generation, The Shubert Foundation, The MCJ Amelior Foundation, Dale Family Fund, The Sidney E. Frank Foundation, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The Thomas J. Long Foundation, The Morris Stulsaft Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Dodge & Cox, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Cal Shakes also thanks its corporate partners for their contributions to the success of this year's work: BART, Meyer Sound, San Francisco magazine, City National Bank, Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP, Chevron, KBLX, McCroskey Mattress Co., Orinda Theatre Square, and Safeway.